Smoke from southwestern fire brings in hazy Colorado Springs sky

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COLORADO SPRINGS — East Canyon Fire bringing in a smokey haze to Colorado Springs Wednesday, making mountains barely visible. 

“Air is coming into southern Colorado from Arizona, from Utah and the southwestern part of the state where the fires are So, as those fires burn parts of the forest and produce smoke, that smoke comes right into southern Colorado,” said FOX21 Chief Meteorologist Matt Meister. 

The lightning-sparked fire west of Durango bringing not only smoke, but potential health hazards. 

“That smoke acts as a trigger for asthma. It can act as a trigger for other respiratory diseases. So, patients with asthma will have more trouble,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, certified medical assistant and certified asthma educator for Alligator Allergy and Asthma. 

“And it’s dry desert air that’s moving into the state. So, that air moves around really easily this time of year, and so we’ve seen wind gusts between 30 and 50 miles per hour,”

Health experts say smoke irritants can even affect those without respiratory diseases.

“Shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness, wheezing, a flair of asthma or allergy symptoms, things just get worse. And that’s the time you would use your rescue inhaler, contact your doctor, that kind of thing,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Meister says upcoming wind patterns could bring a change in the hazy view. 

“It’s going to switch the wind around out of the north. That may scour some of the smoke at the surface, but it’ll also bring us in some rain for Thursday and Friday, which should pull some of the smoke out of the air. So, we got our fingers crossed that things are going to get a little bit better around here,” Meister said. 

In the meantime, experts say it’s best for everyone to just stay inside.  

“Keep your windows closed if you have a respiratory disease of any sort. Stay inside if you can, keep your windows closed. Don’t open them, run your air conditioner. That will do a bit to filter out the participants. Otherwise, pay attention. Pay attention to your symptoms and either let your doctor know as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Click here for an interactive map of fire and smoke product. 

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