Health dept. issues smoke advisory for Grand County, most of state |

Health dept. issues smoke advisory for Grand County, most of state

Pointe Park in Grand Lake at 7:30 p.m. Monday. (Photo by Brian Garcia)

A thick mass of smoke hanging over most of Colorado this week prompted officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue an air quality advisory for large swaths of the state, including Grand County.

Grand County residents began noticing an increase in atmospheric haze late last week, which was soon after followed by air quality warnings from the state.

The public health department on Tuesday, however, reissued an action-day alert for most of northwestern and west central Colorado to include counties ranging from Gunnison north to Jackson.

“If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors,” said the advisory from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly.”

The advisory went on to suggest citizens limit any outdoor activity as long as smoke remains moderate or heavy in the given area.

“If visibility is less than five miles of smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy,” according to the state’s public health agency.

The smoke, which is thick and visible even on the eastern plains and the border with Kansas, is being caused by a combination of factors. Local wildfires in northwestern Colorado are producing smoke in the region that is combining with smoke from multiple wildfires burning across the Rocky Mountain West.

According to state officials, however, Grand County is not catching the worst of things.

“The heaviest smoke impacts will be felt in areas directly downwind from wildfires in Routt County, including the Steamboat Springs area,” according to officials.

Areas of western Grand County were specifically highlighted in the state advisory, with the communities of Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling singled out. No additional communities in Grand County were listed specifically though all of Grand County is listed in the advisory.

The current smoke advisory is set to expire 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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