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The driving force behind Colorado's smoky skies

Western U.S. wildfires
Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 00:04:25-04

Fires burning across the western U.S. are to blame for our recent stretch of poor air quality.

The Pikes Peak Region has been under an Air Quality Alert since July 30th.

The heavy smoke is coming from several large, destructive wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington.

The Dixie Fire burning in Northern California is the largest.

Located near Chico, the Dixie Fire has charred nearly 490,000 acres and is still burning out of control.

Just last week, the fire burned down Greenville, a small town located in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Another fire burning to the west of the Dixie Fire known as the Monument Fire has already scorched more than 57,000 acres.

Other large fires still burning in the Pacific Northwest are also to blame for today's poor air quality.

Smoke from these fires is being carried more than a thousand miles to the east by strong jet stream winds.

Right now, the heaviest smoke is primarily located over northern parts of Colorado and Utah, and southern parts of Wyoming.

Later tonight, smoke will drop back down to the south.

It shouldn't be as dense as last weekend, but could still cause problems for individuals with heart disease or respiratory conditions.

Periods of thicker smoke will continue into Wednesday, with more modest concentrations of smoke by Thursday and Friday.

Further into the extended, a change in the weather pattern will bring the potential for increasing rain chances and less smoke this weekend.