DENVER (CBS4) – About a third of Colorado’s 64 counties are now under an Air Quality Alert through at least Friday afternoon. Many areas are seeing, smelling, and breathing a high concentration of wildfire smoke and the alerts are expected to be extended through the weekend.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the air is considered unhealthy for “sensitive groups” which includes older adults, young children, and anyone with heart or lung disease or any kind of respiratory problem. People in these categories should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. And indoor exercise is encouraged even for healthy individuals.
Visibility in the metro area has been declared “Extremely Poor” which is the worst visibility category available and Friday is an “Action Day” for the Denver area. Residents are encouraged to help care for the air by waiting until after 5 p.m. before refueling vehicles or mowing lawns.
Most of the wildfire smoke reaching the Denver and Boulder metro area is originating from the Grizzly Creek fire just east of Glenwood Springs.
Meanwhile the smoke plumes from the Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction and the Cameron Peak Fire about 40 mile west of Fort Collins is mainly going into Northern Colorado including Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley.
Unfortunately there will be more very warm and very dry weather across Colorado on Friday offering no help for the firefighters battling the three fires. Denver will reach at least the mid 90s which is hotter than normal even for the middle of August.
A slight change in the weather pattern should allow for limited moisture to reach the Eastern Plains this weekend. Isolated late day thunderstorms are possible mainly east of I-25 Saturday and Sunday. There could also be a few storms that bring rain to mountains but they will stay mainly east of Vail Pass and therefore bring no relief to the dry conditions on the Western Slope.
Overall next week should be as hot as this week but it will still be toasty with highs likely reaching at least 90 degrees almost everyday. Unfortunately the forecast looks grim in terms of any getting any significant moisture.