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I never thought I’d love living in Northern Arizona as much as I do.

Natural beauty surrounds us regardless of which of the Verde Valley communities we find ourselves in while looking around.

Ample outdoor opportunities present themselves, whether it’s a lazy day at the creek, a bike ride on a trail or simply a run on neighborhood streets.

Sedona Red Rock News Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieThe wonderful weather allows us to spend time outdoors all year while offering both hot and cool temperatures — sometimes even within a 24-hour period — to keep everyone happy.

While it seems I found my paradise, I do have one complaint — and it’s one that sends some people packing despite how much they love the area.

There is always something in the air.

Summer, fall, winter and spring — we never seem to get a break from the hazy views, sore throats, headaches and sometimes even worse health effects many experience.

Between dust, allergens and smoke, residents of Northern Arizona are bombarded with particles floating in the air.

This time of year, it’s smoke, smoke and more smoke with a bit of dust tossed in thanks to the monsoon.

Now that the rain has arrived helping to keep fires under control, it’s time for prescribed burning to pick where those fires left off causing smoke to settle into the area in the cool mornings, most people’s favorite time to be outside.

When a storm causes the wind to pick up, or Phoenix gets a haboob, dust fills the air.

My family made me chuckle when I visited them in Wyoming this summer.

They kept telling me how smoky it was and warned it would drive me crazy — they hear me complain about this quite often now.

I expected their reports to be accurate based on the fires Utah and Colorado endured in June and smaller blazes Wyoming residents experienced.

When I arrived, it was crystal clear the first day and what they define as “smoky” the next.

I laughed and told them if they wanted to see hazy air, they need to come back here for a visit.

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