DENVER (CBS4) – Approximately 3 out of 4 days this summer included an Air Quality Alert along the Front Range. This is far worse than normal and puts Denver on the path to setting a record for bad air days.
Wednesday marks the fiftieth day since June 1 with a bad air quality warning in the Denver area. The cause is a combination of forest fire smoke, mostly native to California, and ozone, which forms when the summer sun heats up pollution from vehicles, oil and gas exploration, and various other sources.
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The record for Air Quality Alert Days was set in 2018 with 52 days. And with 20 days left in the season, Denver is guaranteed to break that record this summer.
A silver lining on Wednesday is that after 5 days the warning was scaled back with a rare statewide warning to shut out southern Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has also reduced the severity of the bad air. After several days of unhealthy air for “everyone”, Wednesday air is considered unhealthy for “sensitive groups” including young children, older adults and anyone with respiratory problems such as asthma.
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The worst smoke on Wednesday is likely to be around Rocky Mountain National Park and east through Larimer and Weld counties. That said, there will be more smoke seen practically everywhere in Colorado.
Looking ahead to Thursday, there should be significantly less smoke in Colorado, especially in the afternoon, as a plume of moisture coming from Arizona cuts off much of the plume of smoke coming from California.
The rise in humidity on Thursday will also restore the chance for late thunderstorms mostly in the mountains, but some late tales are possible for Denver and the Front Range as well.
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