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When will smoke from Canada wildfires dissipate around Colorado?

Despite poor visibility, experts say the air quality is good to moderate on Monday
smoky south boulder peak.jpg
Posted at 2:26 PM, May 22, 2023

After a hazy weekend around Colorado, you may be wondering when the smoke from Canada wildfires will begin to fade away from the southern Rocky Mountains.

The air quality was poor over the weekend and visibility was low around the urban corridor.

So, when will it go away? The good news is we'll get some relief later this week. But we have a couple more smoky days ahead of us.

Up north, wildfires in western Canada are still burning and sending smoke south, but air quality alerts were not in place anywhere in Colorado until 1:30 p.m. Monday. More than one million acres have already burned in Canada with almost 30,000 people forced to evacuate, according to NOAA. Alberta has been hit the hardest with 83 wildfires currently burning.

Smoke and haze on the rise early this week in Colorado

The Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew from Colorado is currently helping battle these wildfires.

In Colorado, smoke from these fires is mostly affecting northern and eastern parts of the state.

The air quality health advisories are in effect until 10 p.m. for Teller County, El Paso County, and Pueblo County.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said on Monday morning that despite these hazy conditions, ozone concentrations were in the good to moderate range and fine particulate matter concentrations were in the moderate category.

This means that unusually sensitive people may experience respiratory issues and should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion, especially outside.

air quality may 22 2023_Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Colorado's air quality as of 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 22, 2023.

However, the CDPHE said that heavier smoke was observed in foothill locations along the Interstate 25 corridor.

Visibility was poor, the CDPHE said, but there were no air pollution advisories in effect in the morning and early afternoon. However at 4 p.m., an Action Day for Multiple Pollutants would go into effect for the northern Front Range region. This means the air quality is unhealthy or conditions are expected to worsen soon.

According to a smoke map from AirNow.gov, other states are seeing worse impacts than Colorado. The heaviest smoke from the Canada fires is covering eastern Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, northern Nebraska, and is drifting farther east to also impact much of Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Here in Colorado, by Tuesday morning, skies will be partly cloudy or mostly clear, but hazy skies will return in the afternoon.

The middle and end of the week will be a bit stormy, which will help dissipate some of the smoke.

On Wednesday, showers and thunderstorms will become more prevalent and some storms may become severe over the eastern plains by Thursday and Friday. These storms are expected to bring improved air quality.