Ozone alert, enhanced by smoke from wildfires, issued along Front Range
Air-sensitive Coloradans should stay indoors this weekend to avoid unhealthy ozone or smoke exposure.
An ozone action alert was issued for the Front Range until 4 p.m. Saturday – meaning individuals sensitive to air quality should stay indoors and reduce physical activity.
Health officials first issued the alert for Friday, and then extended it after reevaluating conditions Friday afternoon.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment warned that Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley have unhealthy levels of ozone, a harmful air pollutant and greenhouse gas. Ozone concentrations are high from El Paso County south of Denver to the foothills north of the city and east to Greeley.
Ground-level ozone can cause respiratory problems, reduce lung capacity and trigger asthma attacks.
Ozone action alerts indicate that air quality is unhealthy or that conditions are expected to worsen over the next day. The poor air quality conditions along the Front Range Friday were attributed to high temperatures, sunshine, stagnant winds and smoke from mountain wildfires.
In summer, ground-level ozone is created when pollutants, typically from vehicle exhaust, paint and cleaning fluids, react with sunlight.
Public health officials expect ozone alerts to be reissued throughout the weekend.
“It appears that we’re going to have higher ozone levels each afternoon as long as the smoke hangs around the state,” said Scott Landes, meteorology and prescribed fire units supervisor for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. •Denver •Boulder •Fort Collins •Greeley •El Paso County •Northern Front foothills Range •Tightly cap solvents •Delay mowing lawn •Avoid gasoline-powered yard equipment
•Avoid overfilling vehicle gas tanks by stopping at the click
•Refuel vehicles in the evenings
“Ozone is a bit higher than expected and we believe that is due to the amount of smoke we have in the atmosphere,” Landes said. “It’s fairly common during the summer to be impacted by wildfire smoke not just in Colorado but fires outside of the state.”