DENVER (CBS4) – Significantly cooler temperatures and considerably less wind on Thursday should help to limit additional growth of the record Cameron Peak fire west of Fort Collins. But smoke from several different fires could be visible at any time.
Despite the cooler and calmer weather, very dry weather and a persistent breeze out of the northwest will continue to hamper firefighting efforts.
The Cameron Peak fire is expected to be far less active on Thursday compared to Wednesday and therefore smoke moving east toward Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley should be considerably less.
That said, a newer fire located north of Hot Sulphur Springs in Grand County will send smoke toward the Denver metro area Thursday afternoon. The worst of the smoke from the East Troublesome Fire may be over the northern suburbs from Arvada to Broomfield to Thornton and Brighton.
Most of the smoke within the enormous smoke plume visible anywhere in northern Colorado on Wednesday was above the ground. So while the plume was impressive in size, impacts on the ground were somewhat limited in terms of visibility or adverse health effects.
More of the smoke from the East Troublesome Fire or others could mix down to the ground on Thursday and therefore for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued an Air Quality Alert for the entire Front Range including all areas around Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins. The air could be unhealthy for sensitive groups including young children, older adults, and anyone with respiratory problems including asthma.
Meanwhile temperatures will be at least 20 cooler on Thursday with highs in the 50s in the Denver metro area. Some mountain towns west of the Continental Divide like Aspen and Glenwood Springs could be warmer than Denver.
There is also a considerably smaller Red Flag Warning in Colorado for Thursday. It extends from Leadville and Fairplay south to Salida, Saguache, and Alamosa. It also includes the Four Corners region including Cortez and Durango.
After warmer weather returns for Friday afternoon and Saturday, another cold front will approach the region on Sunday. At this time it appears the front will stay mainly north of Colorado so temperature should remain relatively mild and most of the state will remain completely dry through the weekend.
The only exception to the dry forecast could be in the northern mountains on Sunday and Monday when isolated rain or snow showers are possible.