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The original item was published from 8/14/2018 9:29:00 AM to 8/15/2018 9:25:22 AM.

News Flash

San Miguel County News

Posted on: July 30, 2018

[ARCHIVED] CDPHE Issues Air Quality Health Advisory

Smoke in the box canyon 2 PC: Shannon Broderick

Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 8:15 AM MDT

Air Quality Health Advisory for Wildfire Smoke

Issued for large portions of western Colorado
Issued at 8:00 AM MDT, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Affected Area: large portions of western Colorado, including Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle, Summit, Mesa, Delta, Pitkin, Gunnison, Lake, Chaffee, Park, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores, San Juan, Montezuma, and La Plata, Counties. Locations and points of interest include, but are not limited to Craig, Steamboat Springs, Walden, Hot Sulphur Springs, Meeker, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Eagle, Breckenridge, Grand Junction, Delta, Aspen, Gunnison, Leadville, Salida, Fairplay, Montrose, Ouray, Telluride, Dove Creek, Silverton, Cortez, and Durango.

Advisory in Effect: 8:00 PM MDT, Tuesday, August 14, 2018 to 9:00 AM MDT, Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Public Health Recommendations: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. If visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

Outlook: Widespread smoke from several in-state and out-of-state fires is impacting large sections of western Colorado. Periods of moderate to heavy smoke can be expected Tuesday through Wednesday morning within the advisory area, especially in areas near local wildfires. The highest impacted areas will include locations near the Bull Draw Fire near the Montrose/Mesa County line, the Cabin Lake Fire in Rio Blanco County, and the Silver Creek Fire near the Routt County/Grand County line. Additional fire activity is possible near the Plateau Fire near the Dolores/Montezuma County line.

An increase in fire and firefighting activity is anticipated for some fires in western Colorado during the early part of the week. This is likely to increase smoke production and increase ambient haze and smoke throughout western portions of the state. If conditions are known to exist that threaten public health, additional Air Quality Health Advisories will be issued. However, UNUSUALLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE SHOULD CONSIDER REDUCING PROLONGED OR HEAVY EXERTION throughout the state of Colorado through Wednesday morning.

Light to moderate concentrations of smoke are also possible near smaller wildfires and prescribed burns around the state.

What if there is a wildfire or smoke in your area?
The focus of the Colorado Smoke Outlook is on large fires (e.g., greater than 100 acres in size). Nevertheless, smoke from smaller fires, prescribed fires, and/or smoke from new fires not yet known to CDPHE air quality meteorologists may cause locally heavy smoke. If there is smoke in your neighborhood, see the public health recommendations below.

Public health recommendations for areas affected by smoke:
If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. IF VISIBILITY IS LESS THAN 5 MILES IN SMOKE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, SMOKE HAS REACHED LEVELS THAT ARE UNHEALTHY.

ACTION DAYS: An Action Day for fine particulate matter (particulates), carbon monoxide, ozone or other pollutants indicates that either current air quality is unhealthy or conditions are expected to worsen later in the day or on the next day. Action Days for air pollutants generally indicate that air quality will be in either the Unhealthy or Unhealthy-for-Sensitive-Groups categories according to the Air Quality Index. Action Days trigger voluntary pollution prevention measures, which may vary by season, and public health recommendations.

The AIR QUALITY INDEX reports the daily level of air pollution on an hourly basis. The index reports the highest level of either carbon monoxide, fine particulates or ozone depending on which pollutant has the greatest hourly concentration. Values greater than 100 for carbon monoxide, fine particulates and ozone indicate exceedances of the pollutant's state and federal standards. Air Quality Index values between 0-50 are good, 51-100 moderate, 101-150 unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy, and over 300 hazardous.

COLORADO OPEN BURN FORECAST: For those with permits for Open Burning, that is burning of waste materials or vegetation outside, check the following webpage to find out if open burning is allowed today:




The San Miguel Department of Health and Environment would like to remind you that there are ways to help reduce exposure to smoke. Residents are advised to take the following precautions to stay healthy:

  • Avoid heavy outdoor exertion such as running or other forms of exercise.
  • Keep your indoor air clean and stay inside.
    • Close your doors and windows and turn off systems that ventilate air from outside in.
    • You can run your air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean.
    • If you do not have an air conditioner and it’s too warm to stay inside without your swamp cooler on or windows closed, seek shelter with a friend or family member with a closed air circulation system.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. You want to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
    • Do not vacuum. It stirs up dust in your home.
    • Do not smoke tobacco in your home.
    • Do not burn candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves.
  • Don’t rely on dust masks for protection.
    • Paper masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, like sawdust. They won’t protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke. An N95 respirator is your best bet if you work outside or feel a face mask is necessary.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your health.

Because of the current drought conditions, we will likely have to deal with smoke pollution all summer. Please come up with a plan to protect yourself and your family and be ready to use it. More suggestions and tips can be found on the EPA Wildfire Smoke Factsheet.

Also, you should always have an evacuation plan in the event of a wildfire. You should know what to pack, as well as your evacuation route and destination. To sign up for CodeRED alerts from San Miguel County, please visit To find out more information about our Department of Health and Environment, please visit For current information on the fires burning in Montrose County, please visit or

Additional links and helpful resources can be found below:

• Get air quality information: Check your local news, the website, or

• Learn about home air cleaners: 

• Learn how to use an N95 respirator mask: 

• Learn more about wildfire smoke: How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health:

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