Wildfire smoke from Canada clogs up Front Range skies Friday

Wildfire Smoke Colorado
AP/David Zalubowski
Smoke drifting south from wildfires burning in Canada clouds the skyline Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Denver.

A patch of wildfire smoke from Canada parked itself over the Front Range urban corridor early Friday morning, triggering health alerts for people living in Denver, Colorado Springs and communities across northern Colorado.

Northern winds will keep the mass of smoke over Colorado through at least Friday afternoon, and potentially into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Wildfire smoke contains fine particles that are small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream when they’re inhaled.

State health officials say young children, elderly adults and people with heart, lung and other medical conditions should limit physical activity outside.

“Please slow it down and limit your time outdoors,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a tweet. 

More than two-dozen Colorado counties are under a poor air quality advisory through at least 4 p.m. Friday. Denver and plains cities east of Metro Denver are under the thickest band of smoke, said Chad Gimmestad, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.. 

“We’re hoping for some improvement as the day goes on, but it’s going to be a yucky day,” Gimmestad said.

More rainy and wet weather could help clear up the air.

But patches of smoke are expected to stick around through the weekend. 

Isolated thunderstorms are most likely to crop up in Front Range mountain communities Friday. There’s an elevated risk of flash flooding for areas close to the East Troublesome and Williams Fork wildfire burn scars, according to the NWS. 

Denver and other cities along the Front Range corridor could see isolated showers throughout the day. Thunderstorms are also forecast over central and southeast Colorado, with the potential for gusty winds, heavy downpours and lightning. 

High temperatures along the Front Range are forecast around 60 degrees Friday. The Western Slope could see high temperatures around 80.

“But we’re headed into a drier and warmer weekend,” Gimmestad said. “There will be a few thunderstorms, mainly over the mountains, but we’ll be back in the 70s.”