Ozone alert, en­hanced by smoke from wild­fires, is­sued along Front Range

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Erin Dou­glas Ar­eas af­fected by ozone alert: the To pre­vent ozone lev­els: harm­ful

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.”

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