By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – The ozone alert for the front range was extended until at least 4 p.m. on Tuesday. It comes with temperatures in the 90s.

The haze is so bad, it’s hard to see the mountains from downtown Denver. Many Coloradans wonder if this is the new normal due to western wildfires.

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There is at least a chance to escape the smoke and haze by going up one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks. Mount Evans is the closest to Denver and with a road, you don’t even have to climb.

On a clear day in the past, it seemed like you could see forever. Now, not even half of that.

“We do think it’s a little better because we can see the distant mountains more easily,” said Mike Ellis, who traveled to Mt. Evans from Golden with his wife Glenda.

“Just don’t look to Denver look up to the beautiful blue skies,” Glenda said, pointing up.

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From Mt. Evans, the sky is blue, the temperature is cool, and the air is clean, offering an escape from the smoke-filled city.

Lauren Bargery was visiting from Alabama.

“I don’t think the smoke is as bad up here,” she said, noting the altitude made the air a lot thinner.

Heavy haze is what it’s been like for the past several days in Denver.  The Ozone Advisory is due to smoke from the fires in Oregon and California mixing with the sun. It’s tough for Jayme Linker, a survival athlete who suffers from asthma.

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“I’m not able to breathe, get exhausted all the time, can’t get enough oxygen,” Linker said.

Even with her asthma, she is in training to row across the Atlantic from Spain to Antigua this December to raise money to fight eating disorders. Fortunately, relief from the smoke is available in Colorado on 14,000 foot peaks where “getting high” has a different meaning.

Rick Sallinger