DENVER (CBS4) – Wind gusts over 70 mph in the area of the 135,000 acre Cameron Peak Fire in western Larimer County caused the fire to flare up significantly Tuesday night. Residents in the Denver metro area have certainly noticed the wind, but why not smoke? The answer is the wind. Unlike recent weeks when large amounts of wildfire smoke caused very poor air quality in the metro area, the gusty wind this week is keeping most of the smoke out of the Denver area.
It’s a different story in northern Colorado. Fort Collins and all of Larimer County is under an Air Quality Alert for Wednesday mainly because of the Cameron Peak Fire.
Smoke plume models show smoke from the Cameron Peak fire moving directly east toward Fort Collins where the smoke could be quite thick at times. Residents in the Fort Collins area are encouraged to spend more time indoors than outdoors.
The strongest wind gusts Tuesday night and Wednesday morning where found in the mountains mainly along and just east of the Continental Divide. Berthoud Pass south of Winter Park clocked a gust of 93 mph around 6 a.m. Wednesday.
A High Wind Warning continues from the Rocky Mountain National Park region south to Summit County and into northern Park County through 12 p.m. on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Denver and the Front Range as well as the Eastern Plains could experience wind gusts up to 50 mph Wednesday afternoon. That means extremely high fire danger as temperatures soar to near 80 degrees at lower elevations. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for most lower elevations in the state through 6 p.m.
Denver metro area residents also saw something that has been a rarity in recent weeks: clouds! CBS4 viewer Joe Alsko captured a stunning sunrise in Longmont thanks to the cloud cover Wednesday morning. Unfortunately no moisture will come from the clouds.
Despite a cold front brining much colder weather from Wednesday night through Thursday night, the vast majority of Colorado will stay completely dry.