Wind brings wildfire haze, fire danger to Summit County
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that fire danger in Summit County has been changed to high.
DILLON — Residents in some areas of Summit County might have noticed haze in the sky Monday.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Koopmeiners, widespread haze in the area is due to fires in the West. Despite the smoke, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment rated air quality as “good” Monday in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
“There will be some smoke up in the atmosphere here and there,” Koopmeiners said. “There’s a bunch of fires out West, so that’s where that comes from.”
Koopmeiners said the bulk of the fires were burning north of the Grand Canyon. According to the national Incident Information System, 15 fires are burning across Arizona and New Mexico, some of which are prescribed burns or contained. There are two active wildfires in southwest Colorado.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Monday for northeast and north central Colorado that warned “very warm” temperatures Monday could heighten fire danger due to low humidity. Fire danger is expected to increase Tuesday and continue into Wednesday as winds increase, according to the outlook. Fire danger in Summit County was moderate as of Monday morning but changed to high in the evening.
“We have a cooler air mass coming in Wednesday afternoon, evening and then into Thursday, Friday, Saturday,” Koopmeiners said about potential decreases in fire danger late in the week.
Koopmeiners noted that it looks like there is “no help” for the fires in the southwestern U.S. at this time. He said Summit County’s next chance for precipitation is late Thursday and Friday with a slight chance of Saturday afternoon showers. Koopmeiners said that once showers and moisture sets in, temperatures will cool off in the High Country.
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KEYSTONE — Summit County reported 196 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the week, according to the county’s coronavirus webpage.