Smoky skies around Colorado

Posted at 10:33 AM, Jul 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-22 12:33:52-04

Smoke and haziness have taken over the skies today and the smell of campfire is strong. There aren’t any new fires burning, but some of the old ones are still producing a lot of smoke. 

Most of today’s smoke is originating from the Lake Christine fire, which is still burning to our west near Glenwood Springs. Yesterday that fire moved into an area of heavy, beetle-killed fuels. These fuels burn quickly and produce a lot of smoke as they do. As the fire burned through these fuels there was a large plume of smoke coming from the fire and filtering into the atmosphere. 

Our general wind pattern is from the west and we also have a northerly component to our surface winds today. That combination is allowing a lot of that smoke from yesterday to filter towards our area as it tries to disperse. Click here for a map of how the smoke is spreading from the fire. Winds are are very light, which allows the smoke to linger more than it normally would. Strong winds can help smoke disperse rapidly.

With all of the smoke in the air, there will be air quality issues today. If you already have breathing issues you should avoid spending time outdoors. Anyone else should still avoid unnecessary prolonged exposure. Combined with the heat, indoor plans are the better option today, especially for any strenuous activity.

A chance for showers and storms is in the forecast for this afternoon across most of the state and there’s an even better chance for rain tomorrow. Rain could really help firefighters with the Lake Christine fire. It’s already burned over 10,000 acres and is only 32% contained. Rain would also help clean out our skies a bit and help with our local fire danger concerns.