Wind has been carrying smoke over Wisconsin from a forest fire that has been raging since Aug. 18 in northeastern Minnesota. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ real-time air-quality monitoring system, however, is showing good quality air this morning over most of Wisconsin — a fact that Green Bay area residents have plenty of reason to disagree with. And it’s not because the DNR is in a state of denial about the stench of smoke. There are two reasons, according to Joe Hoch, regional pollutant section chief with the DNR. For one, the agency has only three monitors in the state that detect particulate matter in the air, and one of those monitors — the one in Brown County — is down for repairs. The other two monitors, in Outagamie and Forest counties, are detecting particulate matter — basically smoke — but the levels are shooting up and down radically. The DNR’s alert system is based on a 24-hour average and doesn’t account for hourly spikes, Hoch said. For example, the Appleton-based monitor at 8 a.m. today showed a particulate level of 71, which is about twice the federal standard, Hoch said. An hour later, the level dropped to 20. The DNR website accounts for those hourly changes, but it requires some digging. Clearly, the smoke can be a problem for people with respiratory problems, and they need to curtail physical activity and stay inside, Hoch said. The fire, started by a lightning strike on Aug. 18, has been burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near Ely, Minn. About 11,000 acres are involved. The DNR is looking for a way to move an advisory onto the front page of its website and elsewhere, Hoch said. A wind shift this morning was diminishing the haze problem over Green Bay, but it’s expected to be only a short-term respite. Jeff Last of the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon said winds that have been bringing the smoke to our area came on the heels of a cold front moving into Northeastern Wisconsin. The winds have shifted, but a second cold front scheduled to arrive by Wednesday should mean a repeat of the northwesterly winds. “We’ll be back in that potential for smoke and haze throughout the week,” Last said.