Smoke could be from Utah, or Four Corners |

Smoke could be from Utah, or Four Corners

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – Thank the Beehive State. Or maybe the Four Corners.Those are the two most likely sources of the haze that settled over the valley Monday afternoon.National Weather Service forecaster Mike Meyers said the prevailing winds Monday could have moved smoke from the “Big Canyon Fire” toward Colorado’s Western Slope.That 3,500-acre fire, in a remote area north of Interstate 70 north of Moab, has been burning since Aug. 7. After a successful “burnout” operation in which areas inside the fire’s perimeter were deliberately set ablaze, the fire, and the smoke it produced, roughly tripled.

Because of the rough terrain, crews have only been able to work on that fire for a few days. The Utah fire information page on the Internet listed the fire as only 5 percent contained as of mid-day Monday.The other haze suspect is the smaller, but active “Well” fire, burning near Mesa Verde National Park. That fire had also been smoldering for a while, but on Sunday blew up from a few dozen to more than 1,000 acres.While the Well fire is several hundred miles away, Meyers said it isn’t unusual for smoke to travel great distances, depending on the wind.”I remember the Yellowstone fires brought a lot of smoke down here,” Meyers said, referring the 1988 fires.While high pressure is expected to keep the weather warm and dry for the next few days, the fire danger locally is listed as “moderate.”Scott Miller is a staff writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at Colorado

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