The Larimer County Department of Public Health has issued a press release warning citizens downwind of the Crystal Fire about the effects of the smoke.
The Crystal wildfire (west of Horestooth/Masonville) could continue to cause significant amounts of smoke that could impact Larimer County residents while the fire is active according to local public health officials.
“The high winds have been blowing smoke down into neighborhoods along the foothills,” said Doug Bjorlo, environmental health specialist at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. “Though the heaviest smoke is expected to affect those who live closest to the fire, the smoke may also reach any area in Larimer County at times during the fire and is dependant primarily on wind direction, wind speed and ambient temperatures” he said.
“People in Larimer County should monitor air visibility and their own physical responses to possible smoke in the air,” Bjorlo added. “If visibility is less than 5 miles in your neighborhood due to smoke and haze, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy, especially to sensitive people.”
This “visibility gauge” is often the first sign that people with lung or other respiratory issues could affected.
“The 5 mile visibility guidance for haze/smoke is always a good rule for folks to observe,” Bjorlo said. He explains that when smoke is in the air, it contains particulates from the fire that could aggravate breathing problems in the very young or elderly, people with asthma, COPD, heart disease, or any respiratory illness or condition. When that is the case, people with those conditions should stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise.
“It’s also important for people to monitor their own condition and do what’s necessary,” Bjorlo added. “If they feel they are in harm’s way, either stay indoors with outside air vents close OR temporarily relocate out of the haze.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment monitors air quality in the State. Information on current conditions are posted on their air quality website at http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/advisory.aspx . The website contains updates on current Colorado wildfires, including the Crystal fire, and its impact on air quality on Front Range communities through its Front Range Air Quality Forecast & Colorado Smoke Outlook.