Air-quality warning issued for Grand Valley

Clearly, the Grand Valley is stuck in an inversion. Still residents can help reduce the effects of that brown, murky cloud that has been hovering around, blocking most of the sun’s rays.

According to the Mesa County Health Department, the gathering of fine particulates is caused mostly by wood smoke in the air and combustion from vehicles.

Since Friday, the Grand Valley’s air quality has been labeled “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” The health department issued a news release Tuesday about the poor air quality rating in an attempt to draw attention and encourage residents to practice some preventative measures.

There already is a no-burn advisory in effect in Grand Junction and Fruita, meaning burning is not allowed in wood stoves unless they are low-emitting stoves approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All open burning is banned.

“The two biggest things are to phase out old stoves and teach people how to burn,” Ed Brotsky, air pollution specialist with the Mesa County Health Department said about reducing the inversion’s effects. “The other is the vehicle exhaust. More-efficient cars will help but we still have a lot of old ones on the road.”

The health department is recommending residents burn well-seasoned wood in small, hot fires. Smoke should not be smelled inside the home. The department also is advising motorists to consider driving less, try carpooling, refrain from idling their vehicle, and combine multiple errands in one trip.

For more information about the Grand Valley’s air quality, go to http://www.airnow.gov.


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