NewsCovering Colorado


How to track air quality conditions as wildfires continue to spread

Posted at 5:49 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 10:22:25-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As wildfires continue to rage across northern Colorado and Wyoming, News 5 wants to help you stay ahead of the air quality issues.

Meteorologist Sam Schreier says air quality issues will continue across southern Colorado this week.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department suggests heading to your favorite website or app to check the air quality when you see smoke or haze in your area. The smoky conditions can create an unhealthy environment and cause you to experience eye irritation, dry throat, and running nose.

The fire department recommends those with health concerns avoid going outside when there is poor air quality. If you have too, they recommend turning on the air conditioner in the car to circulate clean air.

While they do not want you to call 911 if you see smoke or haze, call if you see something generating the smoke.

"Stay in the area. One of the hardest things we have, since this is a commuting town, people will call 911 when they go through the area and they don't stay. It's hard to find those again," said Capt. Mike Smaldino, Colorado Springs Fire Department.

There are several apps and websites to help you measure, monitor, and maintain air quality. Here is a complete list:

1. First Alert 5 Weather App

News 5's weather app provides 250-meter radar, future radar, high-resolution satellite cloud imagery, daily and Hourly forecasts updated hourly from our computer models.

2. AirVisual

The app helps measure, maintain, and monitor pollutants at the city level. The app fetches the pollution data from the nearest center upon a successful selection of the current location. The user can get information about different pollutants along with the overall AQI of the location. AirVisual also extracts pollution information from government websites to maintain accurate data. It also features some weather information along with the AQI data.

3. Plume Labs Air Quality

The app offers full coverage of all the major cities and towns around the world along with hour by hour forecast of the air quality. It also recommends the best time to go out of your home and do favorite outdoor activities without getting exposed to pollution.

4. AirNow

AirNow is your one-stop source for air quality data. It highlights air quality in your local area first, while still providing air quality information at the state, national, and world views. A new interactive map even lets you zoom out to get the big picture or drill down to see data for a single air quality monitor. The app reports air quality using the official U.S. AQI , a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you.