DENVER (AP) – The smoke and haze drifting from Pacific Northwest wildfires could hang around northern Colorado for weeks, the National Weather Service predicts.
Meteorologists say the hazy conditions could last until the fires go out, which might not happen until October.
“If anything, it will look hazy. I don’t know if we will see crystal clear skies for a while,” Kyle Fredin, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Boulder, told The Denver Post.
Skies may clear briefly on Thursday and Friday if expected showers and thunderstorms start late Wednesday.
But the fires will continue burning, and a stagnant high-pressure system that hangs over the area will again trap the smoke when the moisture leaves the area, Fredin said.
“It can take a long time for those fires to go out. They won’t really go out until the rainy season kicks in in the Pacific Northwest in October.”
Denver International Airport is warning passengers that the smoke and reduced visibility caused by the fires could delay some flights by an average of about 30 minutes.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council issued an ozone action day alert at 4 p.m. Monday for the Front Range Urban Corridor from El Paso County north to Larimer and Weld counties.
Meanwhile, a small wildfire near Chimney Rock National Monument in the San Juan National Forest was 100 percent contained Monday.
The Durango Herald reports that the 48-acre wildfire between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs was sparked by lightning on Aug. 18. No structures were threatened.
Most of the 93 responders on scene last Friday have been reassigned, and National Forest Service officials are no longer using air tankers.
One Forest Service road, which accesses the Devil Creek State Wildlife Area, remained closed Monday but was expected to reopen soon.
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.
Wildfire Photo Galleries
– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.
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