Wildfire haze hovers over Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Wildfire haze hovers over Eagle County

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The National Weather Service in Grand Junction says smoke from a large Arizona wildfire will remain visible in Eagle County through most of the week.

The eastern Arizona fire, which has been named the Wallow Fire, grew to more than 300 square miles Monday and has burned more than 200,000 acres.

Ellen Heffernan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a wind advisory Monday evening could add dust into the smoky haze over the area that has been brought in via a ridge of high pressure.

Heffernan said a Monday evening cool front means the winds will turn around to the west and northwest, but by Tuesday afternoon the winds from the west will be heading this way again.

“That smoke plume may lessen tomorrow a little bit behind that front, however it’s going to be short-lived,” Heffernan said. “Wednesday and Thursday will probably not be as clear, but it also depends on what happens down there with the fire. If it starts spreading less, that smoke plume will not be as large.”

The Associated Press reported Monday that smoke from the wildfire had spread as far east as Iowa and as many as 1,000 miles away.

The haze has obscured the view of the mountains from downtown Denver and prompted some municipal health departments along the Front Range to issue air quality warnings, the Associated Press reported. Denver is also seeing effects from wildfires in southern Colorado, in addition to the Arizona fires.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s air quality forecasts for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter are all listed as “good” for Tuesday, which is the most positive rating.

Ray Merry, Eagle County’s environmental health director, said the state advisories apply to Eagle County. People who are asthmatic, have sinus issues or smoke allergies need to pay attention to air quality reports, he said.

“Try to stay in doors and don’t do a lot of physical activity during episodes of poor air quality,” Merry said.

Fire officials in Arizona expected the fire to grow Monday because of a windy forecast and dry lightning.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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