Smoke from wildfires in Canada drifting into Colorado's urban corridor, eastern plains

Denver is tied for the second-worst air quality in the world
smoky denver from canada fires
Posted at 12:50 PM, May 19, 2023

BOULDER, Colo. — Smoke from wildfires burning in Canada is drifting south to Colorado, resulting in dense smoke mixed with fog throughout the eastern half of the state, the National Weather Service said.

More than one million acres have already burned in Canada with almost 30,000 people forced to evacuate, according to NOAA. Alberta has been hit the hardest with 94 wildfires currently burning.

canada wildfires_Alberta Fire

The country has several dozen fires larger than 1,000 acres.

In addition to Colorado, air quality alerts are also in place for parts of Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin, and Washington as a result from these fires.

As of 1:45 p.m., Denver is tied for the second-worst air quality in the world, according to The city is sharing that title with Delhi, India.

smoke map may 19 2023

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said an air quality health advisory is in effect for northeastern Colorado for the following counties and cities: Larimer, Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Washington, Yuma, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln, Kit Carson, and Cheyenne Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to, Fort Collins, Greeley, Fort Morgan, Sterling, Julesburg, Holyoke, Boulder, Broomfield, Central City, Golden, Denver, Brighton, Littleton, Akron, Wray, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Kiowa, Hugo, Burlington, and Cheyenne Wells.

A separate air quality health advisory is impacting southeast Colorado for the following locations: Fremont, Pueblo, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Huerfano, Las Animas, and Baca Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to, Canon City, Pueblo, Ordway, Eads, La Junta, Las Animas, Lamar, Walsenburg, Trinidad, and Springfield.

The advisory was extended to 9 a.m. Saturday.

air quality summary CDPHE

The smoke will dissipate by Friday evening, though the public may notice some through the weekend. But it won't be as bad as Friday, the NWS said.

The CDPHE will issue an Action Day for Particulates at 4 p.m. Friday and it will last until at least 4 p.m. Saturday. This impacts Douglas County, Larimer County, Weld County, Fort Collins, Greeley and the Denver-Boulder area.

The CDPHE recommended to go inside if you notice thick smoke outside. This is especially true for people with heart disease and respiratory illnesses, or people who are very young or elderly.

Air quality advisory for wildfire smoke in effect until 9 a.m. Saturday

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