Valley haze from Idaho wildfires

A persistent haze over the Grand Valley this week might be caused by wildfires near the northern Rocky Mountains in Idaho, according to Joe Ramey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Without any kind of hard evidence, we suspect that smoke from those fires have worked their way down,” Ramey said.

The smoke is not caused by any fires nearby, and according to Ramey, hazy skies should clear up in the next few days as winds coming into the valley shift.

“We’re going to see a northwest flow, so our visibility should improve,” Ramey said.

No air quality advisories have been issued by the Mesa County Health Department, according to Ed Brotsky, an air quality specialist, because hazy skies do not necessarily mean a health risk.

“Our monitors haven’t been reading really high, so it’s more of a visibility issue,” Brotsky said. 

The Health Department follows air quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency, which look at factors like the air quality index and different levels of pollutants. The Health Department measures air particles, carbon monoxide, pollen and ozone levels at several different locations around the valley.

Brotsky said residents concerned about air quality should check the Health Department’s web site, http://www.health.mesacounty.us, which is regularly updated with information about local pollen levels and other irritants.


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