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The original item was published from 5/22/2023 11:24:56 PM to 5/22/2023 11:31:14 PM.

News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: May 22, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Wildfire Smoke from Canada Arrives in Summit County

Photo of Summit County Courthouse and news release text

While there is no active wildfire, Summit County's Environmental Health Department is providing resources and guidance for residents and guests, especially those with health concerns that could be elevated due to lower air quality.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Substantial wildfire activity in Canada is creating increased levels of smoke visible across much of the Front Range and Summit County. 

Fine particulate matter concentrations are expected to be in the Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category (according to the EPA’s Air Quality Index) on Monday and Tuesday. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heave exertion on Monday and Tuesday.  

While there are currently no active wildfires burning in Summit County, the smell of smoke may be noticeable at times. People are urged to not call 911 to report this smoke, but are encouraged to sign up for Summit County’s alert system to stay up to date on emergency conditions at scalert.org

Public Health Recommendations:  

To mitigate exposure to smoke, public health officials recommend that residents and visitors, especially sensitive individuals, consider taking the following precautions:

  • Reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. It’s OK to be active outside but take more breaks and do less intense activities. 
  • Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.  
  • See the EPA’s activity chart for guidance depending on the Air Quality Index level. https://www.airnow.gov/sites/default/files/2018-09/air-quality-and-outdoor-activity-guidance-2014.pdf
  • Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory membranes moist.
  • If you develop symptoms suggestive of lung or heart problems, including chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath or extreme fatigue, consult a medical provider as soon as possible.
  • Create a “clean air room” in your home by closing windows / doors and running an air filtering unit such as a portable HEPA filtration device or a DIY box fan filter system.

Smoke levels can be assessed by visiting the EPA’s Fire and Smoke Map page at https://fire.airnow.gov/.  In most cases, residents may also use visibility as a gauge. If visibility is less than 5 miles in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy. References of 5-mile visibility are as follows:

  • If you are in downtown Dillon or Frisco and unable to see Buffalo Mountain
  • If you are in Breckenridge and unable to see the mountain tops above the ski area

Smoke intensity can change at any time, so it is important to stay informed. Air quality information is available from Summit County Environmental Health at https://www.summitcountyco.gov/1288/Smoke

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