Smoke Is In Colorado’s Air Again, But It Won’t Be As Bad As Last Week

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Poor air equality in Denver, most recently brought about by drifting smoke from wildfires all over the West, obscures the mountains as seen from City Park on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Coloradans got a much-needed break from smoky skies and unhealthy air quality this weekend, but that’s all set to end this week. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Entrekin said smoke from wildfires in the western United States, notably California’s 570,000 acre Dixie fire, will once again blanket Colorado’s skies. However, he added, conditions won’t reach the same levels as last week. 

“We won't see those lower visibilities at the surface that we saw last week. So we’ll get smoke here, but a lot of it will be more aloft, so just that real haziness that we saw last week,” Entrekin said.

Smoke will start blowing into the state starting Monday afternoon and continue Tuesday. But some midweek thunderstorms in the forecast may help reduce the smoke. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Monday morning air quality report predicted ozone and fine particulate levels across the state will reach moderate levels. The department says that means air quality is acceptable to most populations, but those highly sensitive to air pollution, like people with lung disease or respiratory illnesses, may be at risk. 

Conditions last week in the state reached unhealthy levels and persisted for days, leaving skies grey and visibility hampered. 

Days with good air quality have been rare this summer, thanks in part to an intensified wildfire season across western states. Colorado has seen a relatively quiet wildfire season compared to neighboring states, but it's likely far from over, according to a state report.