Smoke from wildfires is a significant source of air pollution and can impact air quality in our community even when a fire is miles away.
Anytime you see or smell smoke during a wildland fire, know that local air quality has been compromised.
Air Quality and Your Health
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system. This can irritate your lungs and lead to a range of symptoms like:
- Watering and irritated eyes.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Chest tightness or pain.
While smoke can impact anyone, sensitive populations such as children, pregnant people, the elderly, those that work or exercise outside, and those with asthma and other respiratory concerns are especially at risk during a smoke event. Determine the sensitivity you or your family members have with smoke by talking to your doctor.
Be Prepared for Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke can travel long distances, so even far away fires can impact local air quality and health. The best way to understand the risks is to be aware of your local air quality and take steps ahead of time to prepare for smoke.
- Check Aspen’s current air quality conditions and their impact on your health.
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides smoke forecasts (like weather forecasts) via Wildfire Smoke Health Advisories and Smoke Outlooks for the entire state.
- Sign up for Pitkin Alerts and neighboring county alerts, like Garfield County and Eagle County, to stay informed about local emergency and public health alerts.
- Check current smoke forecasts and current air quality advisories.
- Determine the sensitivity you or your family members have with smoke:
- Talk to your doctor about personal health.
- People with heart and lung disease, older adults, and children are at greater risk.
- High-intensity work or exercise outside increases your risk.
- Prepare your home
- Consider a HEPA Portable Air Cleaner and/or updating your ventilation system with a MERV 13 rated filter.
- Learn about no-cost and low-cost measures to reduce smoke exposure in your home.
- Can I play and/or exercise outside during an air quality event?
- I work outside. What should I do during an air quality event?
- Where can I find regional, state, and national air quality and smoke monitor data and analysis?
- Where can I find information about protecting myself from wildfire smoke during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How can I tell if wildfire smoke will impact my vacation to Aspen?