By First Alert Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – Wildfire smoke originating in New Mexico and Arizona will stream back into Colorado Thursday night and Friday. The smoke will combine with intense heat to create a hazy start to the weekend.

For the Denver metro area, the smoke is not expected to be as thick as it was back on Monday, but air quality will suffer and visibility will be impacted.

Models used to show where wildfire smoke will travel and how thick it will be agree the worse situation will be in southern Colorado and particularly in the San Luis Valley region where the smoke should be quite thick by midnight Thursday night.

(source: CBS)

Smoke in the air around Denver and along the Front Range should not be thick enough to notice until early Friday morning. The smoke is then expected to get progressively worse through the day but likely will not reach the point of saturation it did on Monday. Still, an air quality alert for smoke is expected to be issued for some areas on Friday.

(source: CBS)

With most of the smoke not appearing until Friday, air quality issues on Thursday will be mostly because of summer ozone. Pollutants from several sources including vehicles will react to the summer sun and heat and get trapped near the ground. The air is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups” on Thursday meaning young children, older adults, and anyone with respiratory problems should avoid spending prolonged periods of time outdoors. It’s also an Action Day for Ozone and Front Range residents are asked to reduce driving whenever possible as well as waiting until after 5 p.m. to mow or refuel.

(source: CBS)

Air quality on Friday is expected to be just as bad as Thursday and probably worse. Temperatures will stay in the 90s in the metro area through at least Monday next week. A chance for afternoon thunderstorms will also develop in the coming days.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri