CDPHE issues Air Quality Health Advisory for wildfire smoke

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Smoke rises from the mountains as the South fire burns in San Bernardino County north of Rialto, Calif., seen from Fontana, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. In Southern California, an unknown number of remote homes and outbuildings burned after a fire broke out Wednesday afternoon and quickly ran through tinder-dry brush in mountains northeast of Los Angeles. Evacuations were ordered, and crews mounted an air attack to keep the South Fire from the tiny communities of Lytle Creek and Scotland near the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County. (AP Photo/Ringo Chiu)

COLORADO — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for Wildfire Smoke for north-central and northwestern Colorado.

Affected areas include Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, and Garfield Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to Craig, Steamboat Springs, Walden, Meeker, Rifle, and Glenwood Springs.

The advisory will be in effect until 9:00 a.m. MDT on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Public Health Recommendations: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. If visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

Outlook: Moderate to heavy concentrations of smoke from out-of-state wildfires is expected to move into Colorado on Saturday and Sunday, affecting northwestern and north-central Colorado. Expect the heaviest smoke impacts in sheltered valley locations where atmospheric mixing is limited.

The transport of smoke from out-of-state wildfires is expected to continue for north-central, northwestern, and west-central portions of Colorado, potentially impacting locations outside of the Advisory area defined above. Smoke impacts are expected to be lesser, and more transient for areas beyond the Advisory area, however, periodic increases in smoke and fine particulate concentrations may be experienced in areas such as Eagle, Aspen, and Grand Junction. Concentrations are expected to reach Moderate levels on Saturday and Sunday, with potential for higher concentrations at times. In these areas, unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion on Saturday and Sunday.

Smoke is expected to move eastward across northern Colorado on Saturday and Sunday, affecting air quality for large portions of northern Colorado, including northern portions of the Front Range region. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more forecast information becomes available.

Light to moderate concentrations of smoke are also possible near prescribed burns and small wildfires around the state.

What if there is a wildfire or smoke in your area? The focus of the Colorado Smoke Outlook is on large fires (e.g., greater than 100 acres in size). Nevertheless, smoke from smaller fires, prescribed fires, and/or smoke from new fires not yet known to CDPHE air quality meteorologists may cause locally heavy smoke. If there is smoke in your neighborhood, see the public health recommendations below.

Public health recommendations for areas affected by smoke: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. IF VISIBILITY IS LESS THAN 5 MILES IN SMOKE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, SMOKE HAS REACHED LEVELS THAT ARE UNHEALTHY.

For more information from the CDPHE regarding air quality, visit its website.

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