COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (KDVR) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said crews will begin prescribed burns at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday.

FWS said it plans to burn up to 2,064 acres over the next two weeks to “reinvigorate the growth of native prairie vegetation, reduce accumulated litter, manage efforts for weed control and improve habitat to sustain wildlife.”

The burns will be conducted between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and smoke will be visible for several miles from the area.


Since the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is near the Denver International Airport, many people are alarmed by the sight of smoke in the area.

FWS fire crews and local fire departments will be working with other federal agencies on the prescribed burns. Fire smoke may affect at-risk and sensitive people so it’s best to stay informed on what to expect and how to prepare.

Symptoms of smoke exposure

  • Eye, nose and/or throat irritation–runny eyes and/or nose.
  • Coughing, sore throat.
  • Trouble breathing or tightness of the chest, which may be symptoms of a health emergency.
  • The onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema.
  • Weakened immune system after prolonged exposure to smoke.

Those with respiratory issues and are affected by the smoke should close windows and doors and stay indoors.

Denver weather today

Meteorologist Chris Tomer said it will be windy this afternoon with gusts between 15-25 mph. This will increase the distance the smoke will travel and can be seen. Skies will be sunny with slightly cooler high temperatures in the low 70s across the Front Range.