Wildfires burning across state might affect air quality

DENVER — A fire burning 31 miles south of Rangely has burned more than 3,000 acres and prompted the shutdown of several county roads.

The Red Canyon Fire is burning timber, brush and grass and authorities believe it was sparked by a lightning strike.

Officials said the fire started Sunday and grew Monday and Tuesday because of hot, dry weather with gusty winds. Similar weather is expected Wednesday.

So far, 3,075 acres have been scorched and 124 resources are in place to fight the fire.

The fire is located in remote, rugged, mountainous terrain in heavy stands of brush and timber.

Firefighters have been creating defensible space and removing hazardous fuels close to homes and other structures, and identifying roads and natural features that can be used as containment lines.

Road closures are in place at County Road 27 at Colorado Highway 139 and County Road 256 at Colorado Highway 139 at Douglas Pass.

County Road 27 south from the intersection with County Road 28 was being evacuated Wednesday.

The fire is 0 percent contained.

A fire burning 16 miles northwest of Meeker is also determined to have been caused by lightning.

The Indian Valley Fire has been burning since July 20. It has consumed 6,310 acres and 263 resources are in place to fight the fire.

The fire, which is burning grass, brush and timber, is 80 percent contained and firefighters have secured containment lines and are mopping up hot spots.

Widespread smoke from large wildfires in Colorado and other western states caused an air quality advisory Tuesday.

Several in-state and out-of-state fires are impacting large sections of west-central and southwestern Colorado.

Periods of moderate to heavy smoke can be expected through Thursday morning within the advisory area, especially in locations near local wildfires.

The highest impacted areas include locations near the Red Canyon, Whiskey Creek and Cabin Lake fires in Rio Blanco County, the Cache Creek Fire in Garfield County, the Bull Draw and Buttermilk fires in Montrose County, the Lake Christine fire in Eagle County, and the Plateau fire in Dolores County.

Several large wildfires in western Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Nevada are producing significant amounts of smoke which is being transported into and across Colorado, especially western parts of the state.

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