On Friday, May 19th, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for Northeast Colorado and parts of the Front Range, including Denver, for wildfire smoke coming from fires burning in Canada. MARQ and particle readings in some area homes read between 160 and 200! Colorado was the 4th most polluted city in the world. Almost every day the weather forecasters said it would end the next day, but it just kept coming back again and again. Temperatures were around 60 to 75 degrees most days, which is normal for this time of year.
For about five days, the Front Range and Denver were shrouded in a misty cloud. Residents in Lyons area and Pinewood Springs said they could barely see their surrounding mountains — and for a brief period, one could not see more than five feet in front of oneself. After many days of continuing rain earlier in the month, the rain-soaked earth gave up its load into the atmosphere, and that water became fog, and that mixed with smoke from the nine Canadian (Alberta) wildfires, turning into the worse SMOG situation in America.
Canada has already seen hundreds of wildfires this year, but this May event was from approximately 90 wildfires in the same area, the result of natural causes. The wildfire smoke has blown across the continent. Originally only the northern states like Montana and Michigan experienced the murky brown skies, but it eventually dropped down to Colorado.
Back on May 1st, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was downgrading air pollution violation levels in the northern Front Range from “serious” to “severe.” The legislators have toughened emissions standards, but they need to weigh in the balance that it could raise energy costs for residents. It has been decades of failures by the state to meet federal ozone standards along the Front Range.
According to an article by CPR earlier this year, state regulators issued a major correction to its ozone models. Those new predictions suggest the oil and gas industry is now by far the largest source of local, man-made ozone ingredients, producing about half of all the region’s emissions. Additional analysis shows all vehicles along the Front Range have a smaller impact than drilling and fracking.
The last time we talked about high levels of thick smoke in the area was in “News Briefs” August 12, 2021: OZONE ALERT: After three days of Alerts, over the weekend, Denver was rated the worst air quality of any big city in the world! On Monday, it went to worse air quality in North America. All the weather people are warning people to stay indoors as much as possible, whether you have breathing problems or not. The ingredients of our smog are smoke, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide. Sounds bad, huh? It is. And then you have the “particulates!” On top of that, we broke some heat records… Sunday 98, Monday 97, and Tuesday 97, Wednesday 97.
AIR QUALITY Meter Worldwide – click here