When it comes
to open burning, certain times are better than others. To protect public
health, residents should consider weather conditions before striking a match.
In some
weather conditions, such as inversion, smoke from fires does not disperse.
Because of that, those fires have a greater effect on air quality than fires on
clear days.
People who
are sensitive to smoke because of asthma, allergies or other conditions are
more affected by open burns on days when the weather is cloudy, hazy or foggy.
The picture
below was taken Thursday, March 12, at 9:28 a.m. It is an example of a day not
ideal for burning.
According to
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists, an inversion that
settled in the Grand Valley overnight Wednesday did not break until later in
the day Thursday. Because of these weather conditions, smoke from a burn east
of Grand Junction was unable to disperse into the atmosphere. When possible,
residents should avoid burning during these weather conditions.
It is ideal to burn:

  • When the Valley is inversion-free
  • After the sun has been able to heat the ground, so
    there is warmer air near the earth and cooler air above
  • When there is enough wind to transport the smoke
    (but not too much to cause a dangerous fire)

Below is a
photo of what the weather should look like during an open burn.

Live views of
the Grand Valley’s air quality are available online at
Residents can
also call the NOAA office at (970) 243-7007 and ask to speak with a forecaster
to determine if conditions are OK for burning.

Here is a short time-lapse video of the Valley’s air quality (with tips for knowing when to burn):

For more
information, please call (970) 248-6966 or visit health.mesacounty.us.