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Smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire burning approximately 20 miles north of Grand Junction continues to affect local air quality.

Persistent smoky conditions are impacting communities and residents throughout Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Eagle, Pitkin, Lake, Gunnison, and Garfield counties.

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) recommends monitoring current air quality conditions and taking steps to protect yourself and your family from wildfire smoke.

Air Quality Conditions and Health Advisories

  • For current air quality conditions, health advisories, and details, including instructions about how to use visibility to determine air quality, visit the air quality page of our website
  • Smoke levels may change rapidly throughout the day due to wind and weather conditions.
  • You can monitor changes in smoke in your area and make plans accordingly. 

Understanding Air Quality Alert Levels

The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is used to measure the level of air pollution.  It assigns a value based on the particulate matter in the air.  The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. 

AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is unhealthy: at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values get higher.

The AQI is divided into categories. Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. Each category also has a specific color. The color makes it easy for people to quickly determine whether air quality is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities.

Public Health Recommendations to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

  • If possible, limit your exposure to smoke. Here are some tips to reduce exposure:
    • Avoid Smoky Periods – Smoke often changes over the course of a day. Track conditions and plan your activities to avoid the worst periods of air quality.
    • Stay Indoors –  Do not go outdoors during periods of increased smoke. If you can’t see the mountains clearly, the air quality may be unhealthy.
    • Reduce Activity – Reducing physical activity lowers the amount of inhaled pollutants and reduces health risks during smoke events.
    • Watch for Symptoms of Excessive Smoke Exposure – Children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to smoke exposure. If you or someone in your family have symptoms related to smoke exposure such as difficulty breathing, prolonged coughing, or chest pain contact your health care provider.
    • Keep Indoor Air Clean – Close all windows and doors. Swamp coolers do not offer filtration and should not be used during smoky conditions. Air conditioners may be run with the fresh air intake closed. If you are unable to keep your indoor air clean or it is too hot, consider relocating to an area with cleaner air.
      • Use a do-it-yourself box fan filtration unit to help keep the air in your home clean.
      • Consider a portable air cleaner that can be used alone or with enhanced central air filtration to effectively remove particles.

For more information on local air quality conditions, and to view conditions in real-time through community-sourced purple air monitors visit health.mesacounty.us