CHICAGO (CBS) — Smoke–and the smell–from a forest fire in northern Minnesota is covering parts of the northern suburbs in a hazy cloud.
Several fire departments began receiving reports of smoke in the area this morning — and that prompted an investigation into the origin.
Smoke from the Minnesota forest fire got up in northerly winds and is now being dropped in suburban Chicago, including towns in McHenry County as well as Schaumburg and Long Grove. Residents are saying they are having trouble breathing and experiencing watery eyes.
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Fans of CBS Chicago on Facebook also reported a burning smell and smoke in Northbrook, Streamwood and Libertyville.
Park Ridge has launched robo-calls about the smoke advising residents with respiratory to stay inside and take precautions.
According to AccuWeather, the combination of cooler, sinking air and the northerly winds moved the smoke into Northern Illinois. The smoke is likely to stay in the area all day and into tomorrow–and it could spread even deeper into Illinois and Northwest Indiana.
Residents can expect hazy skies and a distinct burning odor.
The Pagami Creek fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has grown to more than 60,000 acres, prompting mandatory evacuations.
Minnesota Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jean Bergerson tells Minnesota Public Radio the fire has spread beyond the borders of the Boundary Waters Canoe Ara. It is now in an area between Ely and Isabella.
Bergerson said windy conditions Monday helped the fire spread quickly, and wind will be a factor Tuesday and Wednesday.
Bergerson said crews from all over the Upper Midwest were called to help. New firefighting crews from outside the region are being called in but it has been difficult to get the crews they need due to the massive fires in Texas and California.
Bergerson said that the smoke is making it difficult to pinpoint the exact size of the fire.