Smokey air will move into portions of Colorado this week; here’s how to protect yourself

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Several wildfires are burning in Colorado and it is impacting air quality in many locations across the state.

Moderate to extreme smoke is expected to move into Denver and the Front Range on Tuesday and Wednesday.

How can you protect yourself?

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) or check the report here. In addition, pay attention to public health messages about safety measures.
  • Consult local visibility guides. Some communities have monitors that measure the amount of particles in the air. In the western United States, some states and communities have guidelines to help people determine if there are high levels of particulates in the air by how far they can see.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, go to a designated shelter away from the affected area. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from smoke during a wildfire.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Prevent wildfires from starting. Prepare, build, maintain, and extinguish campfires safely. Follow local regulations if you burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating if you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor for advice if your symptoms worsen.
  • If you are pregnant, continue with your prenatal care. Talk to your healthcare provider about where to get prenatal or delivery services if the office is closed. Know the signs of labor and early labor. If you have the signs, call your healthcare provider or 9-1-1, or go to the hospital right away if it is safe to travel.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke. Read more on choosing and using respirators to protect your lungs from smoke and ash
  • Evacuate from the path of wildfires. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes–others may be blocked–and plan for heavy traffic.
  • Protect yourself cleaning up after a fire. Cleanup work can expose you to ash and other products of the fire that may irritate your eyes, nose, or skin and cause coughing and other health effects. Learn how to stay safe cleaning up after a wildfire.

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