If you looked west this morning you probably noticed the mountains hidden under a mysterious haze. This same haze that also gave the morning sun a unique orange glow is actually smoke blowing in from wild fires in and around Colorado.
The main contributors are the 416 and Trail Mountain fires. The 416 fire is blazing near Durango with a current size of 23,378 acres, while the Trail Mountain fire in Manti-La Sal National Forest is 2,637 acres. The fires are big enough they can be seen from space on NOAA satellites.
Two smaller fires, the Badger Creek in Wyoming and Emery Gap, also brought smoke into the state Monday. A cold front Monday morning with northerly winds swept smoke down from the Badger Creek fire, while afternoon southerly winds brought smoke up from the Emery Gap.
An inversion (warm air above the surface) at night trapped the smoke close to the ground overnight and that’s why we saw so much haze this morning. Westerly flow above us in the atmosphere and continued morning inversions will likely keep smoke and haze trapped at the surface for the next few days.
This smoke model shows a near constant stream of smoke, especially from the 416 fire, streaming right over the front range into areas like Colorado Springs over the next 30 hours.