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Air Quality Conditions

Saturday, June 12, 2021, 8:50 AM MDT

Affected Area
:  Delta, Mesa and Garfield Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to Delta, Grand Junction, Rifle, and Glenwood Springs.

Areas of light to moderate smoke are possible. Smoke will gradually decrease throughout the late morning hours, however any increase in fire activity at the Pack Creek wildfire in eastern Utah may increase smoke in these areas, particularly during late evening and overnight hours.

In these areas, as well as in other parts of Colorado not mentioned above, hazy skies and generally light to moderate concentrations of smoke are possible from wildfires in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Across Colorado, particularly for locations on the Western Slope, interior mountain valley locations, and busier metropolitan areas, unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion on Saturday.

Public Health Recommendations: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors.  This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly.  Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present.  Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill.  If visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

Current Air Quality Conditions

Influencing Air Quality

This week:  Wind, High Fire Danger

Hot and dry conditions pose a fire threat.  A Red Flag Warning is in effect for much of the Western Slope including Mesa County through midnight p.m. on June 10, with a Fire Weather Watch extending through June 11 at midnight.


Current Burn Conditions

Spring Open Burn Season ended on 5/31/2021.

Agricultural burning is allowed with a permit on days where conditions are appropriate. We ask those who have an agricultural burn permits to be aware of health impacts on those most at risk for COVID-19 and consider other options, if possible.

Advisories in Place

No advisories in place.

Public Health Recommendations

Symptoms of a reaction to poor air quality:

  • Repeated coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue or lightheadedness

Sensitive groups include: 

  • People with asthma
  • People with heart or lung disease
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children and teens less than 18 years
  • Pregnant women
COVID-19 Considerations:

  • When moving activities from outside to inside, maintaining recommended practices like physical distancing and mask-wearing should be a priority.
  • Guidance regarding setting up a clean air space with COVID-19 considerations can be found here.
The map below is generated by PurpleAir. This grassroots organization relies on volunteers to allow air sensors to be placed on their businesses or homes. PurpleAir uses the same scale that the Environmental Protection Agency uses – the Air Quality Index scale – to compare and measure pollutants in the air.

The scale uses green for good, yellow for moderate, orange for unhealthy for sensitive groups, red for unhealthy, purple for very unhealthy and maroon for hazardous. The Air Quality Index above is also useful, but only monitors several County-wide sensors. Click here to learn more about AQI.

Open Burning
In Mesa County residential open burn seasons run from March 1 – May 31 (Spring Open Burn) and from September 1 – October 31 (Fall Open Burn). The burn season within City limits is one month shorter.

Agricultural Burn Permits allow burning year-round in Mesa County and during designated burn seasons within the City of Grand Junction

No Burn Advisory

If conditions warrant, a No Burn Advisory may be issued to protect the health of residents. When one is issued, restrictions are put in place on open burning or woodstove burning. Residents should note that woodstove burning restrictions do not apply to those who use a woodstove as a primary heat source.

To report a suspected illegal burn click here.

Burn Permits

The easiest way to get a burn permit is to apply online. Click here for the online system.

For questions about obtaining a burn permit, or for help with the online system, call 970-248-6900.

Understanding Air Quality
Air quality is the state of air that promotes optimal health. Air quality impacts how you live and breathe. It can change from day to day, even hour to hour. Mesa County Public Health is constantly monitoring air quality with forecast models, measurement tools and observation. Our team utilizes this local data to inform and educate community members about current air quality conditions. This data, over time, helps shape local policies on clean air.

What impacts our Air Quality

We use a measurement system called AQI (air quality index) developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assign a numerical value to the air quality. This system takes four major air pollutants into account, ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. The higher the AQI, the greater the level of air pollution.