Hazy skies seen around Mesa County

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 8:06 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Mesa County has been hit with wind continuously over the last few days, and now haze is building up around the valley.

Mesa County Public Health said that the air quality is still safe, sitting at a green or good level according to the department’s air quality scale. According to Allison Howe, the marketing communication manager for Mesa County Public Health, the haze that we’re seeing in the valley may be from wildfires burning from neighboring states. She says the department constantly watched the air quality in the county to keep the community up to date.

“We use these things called purple air, and they’re these monitors that we have throughout the Grand Valley so we can see in real time what the air quality looks like in different parts of the valley,” said Howe. The department has the purple air readers posted on its website where people can see real time information. As of right now, no alert has been issued for the air quality, but that could change.

“Our current air quality conditions in the Grand Valley for fine air particulates is at a level that is green or good, but it can change quickly,” said Howe.

On days when the air quality reaches a moderate or severe level, the department said that older folks, children, and people who have heart or lung issues may begin to feel symptoms such as a scratchy throat, an uncontrollable cough, or even a persistent headache.

“On a day that it is moderate or severe for air quality, you may just need to cancel your big hike or move that hike date to another weekend so that you don’t get some of those symptoms,” said Howe.

While seeing haze in the valley isn’t unfamiliar, Citizens for Clean Air said it may become even more common due to climate change.

“We’re having bigger wildfires, they burn hotter and there’s more fuel because everything is dried out,” said Kristin Winn, Vice President of Citizens For Clean Air. “They last longer. There’s less snowpack because of global warming.”

When air quality reaches a moderate or severe level, the health department encourages the community to check its website and suggests that people adjust their recreation plans before heading outdoors.

To view the Mesa County Public Health webpage with the purple air meters, please visit: https://health.mesacounty.us/conditions_airquality/

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