DENVER – Air quality in Denver was among the worst in the nation Thursday afternoon because of ozone and fine particulate matter contained in smoke blowing in from wildfires across the West.
The Air Quality Index in the Denver metro area was at 96 for fine particulate matter at 3 p.m. Thursday – putting it in the top 15 of worst AQIs across the world Thursday afternoon. In the Fort Collins area, the AQI was 83.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality action day alert for the metro area because of the smoke for both Thursday and Friday – a common theme for the last month.
In Teller and El Paso counties, an air quality health advisory was issued until 8 p.m. The CDPHE said ozone levels would reach levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.
According to the National Weather Service, Thursday’s smoke is expected to stick around through the evening before a shift pushes some of the smoke out of the area Friday. However, it is expected to return again late Friday into Saturday across the state.
A good news/bad news situation. Developing westerly flow clears out smoke from NW US and Canadian fires on Friday, but smoke from California fires replaces it on Saturday. #HRRR #cowx pic.twitter.com/6ACBr91Euh— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) August 5, 2021
“In central and western portions of Colorado, unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion on Thursday and Friday,” the CDPHE wrote in Thursday afternoon’s update. “Another large dose of smoke from California wildfires could move into western Colorado on Friday evening.”