We’ve had our fair share of warnings about fire danger in Colorado this year already, but we haven’t had to deal with immense amounts of wildfire smoke — yet.
The same can’t be said for our neighbors to the south. Several wildfires are burning in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, currently and smoke from those fires is looking to move into Colorado.
The Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires have joined to make one huge wildfire, burning mopre than 200,000 acres in just a month’s time. This fire is now the second largest in the state’s history. The Cerro Pelado fire is quickly growing amidst red flag conditions and is also producing large amounts of smoke.
Colorado has been mostly spared from the thickest smoke from these fires, thanks to favorable winds, but that is expected to change. Instead of winds blowing from the southwest to the northeast, we’ll have a more southerly flow of our wind, meaning that the smoke will essentially be able to travel north along Interstate 25 from New Mexico to Denver.
It’s not certain that Denver will see thick smoke, but areas around Trinidad, Pueblo and Colorado Springs will see a notable haze in the sky and maybe even an orange hue as the sun sets. Parts of eastern Colorado should be blanketed in thick smoke through Wednesday.
On top of this, Wednesday is expected to be a very hot and windy day. High temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees above average and winds will be blowing from 20 mph to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph possible on the plains.
Red flag warnings are already expected for both Wednesday and Thursday across the lower elevations.
Winds this strong, like we’ve seen so much of recently, will be powerful enough to pick up dirt and dust, making for even hazier conditions. If you are sensitive to air quality issues, then you should prepare for a tough day on Wednesday.
Winds are expected to stay high on Thursday, but temperatures will “cool” off to just slightly above normal. Winds will die down Friday and should stay low through the upcoming weekend.
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