Fires continue to impact air quality along the Front Range
The Cameron Peak wildfire burning in northwest Larimer County as well as wildfires across California are causing air quality concerns for residents in Northern Colorado.
Due to wildfire smoke transported into the Front Range, Ozone and Fine Particulate concentrations could reach levels that impact not just those who are considered sensitive to poor air quality but for anyone doing prolonged activity outdoors.
The most significant air quality impacts are expected to continue for locations within the Denver Metro area, as well as northward along the I-25 corridor to Fort Collins, including Berthoud and areas west of I-25 within the lower foothills.
In all these areas, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion while air quality is unhealthy. For all other areas within the Front Range, sensitive individuals should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion until the air quality improves.
When air quality is impacted by fire, minimizing physical activity outdoors is recommended, particularly for children, pregnant women, and anyone with lung diseases such as asthma. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly. If able, it is recommended staying indoors until air quality improves.
“We are urging everyone to be aware and take appropriate precautions by staying indoors as much as practical and limit time spent doing outdoors activities,” says Shaun May, Environmental Health Services Director for the Department of Health and Environment. “Now is not the right time to go for a bike ride or take a hike. We can also help out by reducing air pollution by limiting vehicle usage by postponing trips or carpooling.”
The Air Quality Index (AQI) takes into account not only smoke but other particulates in the air like Ozone. This index can let residents know when it is a good idea to reduce time spent outside or head indoors. The index can vary drastically throughout the day with changing weather patterns. On the AQI anything under 50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, 101-150 unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151-200 unhealthy and anything above 201 is very unhealthy to hazardous. In Berthoud during the past week, most of the days saw unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. Berthoud’s AQI reached 166 Sunday.
To monitor air quality and view any advisories visit www.colorado.gov/airquality or airnow.gov.
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