Summit County air quality declines as wildfires burn nearby; rain and cooler temperatures on the way |

Summit County air quality declines as wildfires burn nearby; rain and cooler temperatures on the way

Haze is seen over Frisco on Wednesday, June 23.
Photo by Taylor Sienkiewicz /

Summit County residents have noticed hazy skies this week as wildfires burn around the state. In turn, air quality has been negatively affected.

Air quality index ratings range from zero to 500 with a higher number indicating increasingly poor air quality. According to PurpleAir, air quality ratings in Summit County ranged from 62 to 128 at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 23.

The 62 rating was recorded in Frisco via a Summit County government sensor and indicates that air quality is acceptable but might pose a moderate health concern for people who are exposed for 24 hours and are unusually sensitive to air pollution. The 128 index rating was recorded at Copper Mountain at the Copper Fire Station and indicates that the general public is not likely to be affected but “members of sensitive groups may experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours.”

While the current air quality ratings pose little risk to the general public’s health, there is a decline in air quality since Monday, June 21, when monitoring sites around the county recorded air quality indexes below 50. Fires around the state as well as in neighboring states to the southwest have contributed to the haze experienced locally. Currently, there are no fires burning in Summit County, but the Sylvan Fire in Eagle County is about 70 miles southwest of Summit.

Summit County is currently under Stage 1 fire restrictions but will move to Stage 2 on Friday, June 25.

Thunderstorms, rain and lower temperatures are in the forecast for the rest of the week. According to the National Weather Service’s Frisco forecast, there is a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon, a 30% chance Thursday night and a 40% chance Friday night. Chances of showers and thunderstorms continue through the weekend.

The high temperature Wednesday is forecast to be 80 degrees, but by Friday, the day’s high temperature is expected to be 69 degrees.

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