Silver Creek Fire grows as haze rolls in from Northern California |

Silver Creek Fire grows as haze rolls in from Northern California

Smoke causes health concerns The diminished air quality is particularly dangerous for those dealing with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those individuals should avoid prolonged exposure or exertion. Those living in areas where moderate to heavy smoke is present should also limit outdoor activity, keep windows closed in the car and at home, and use the recycle air feature on car air conditioners. Smoke has reached unhealthy levels when visibility is less than five miles, according to the CDC. Wednesday’s Town Challenge mountain biking race was postponed because of the air quality.    

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The haze that socked in the Yampa Valley on Wednesday can again be attributed to wildfires burning in Northern California.

Meteorologist Matt Aleksa with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said there is a ridge of high pressure to the west of Colorado. That is causing wind to flow clockwise around the high-pressure system and send smoke into Northwest Colorado.

“That’s causing the widespread smokiness and decreased visibility,” Aleksa said.

Relief from the haze is in sight: A trough of low pressure is moving in from the Pacific Northwest and bringing with it a chance of moisture Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Smoke in Steamboat is not from the nearby Silver Creek Fire, which grew to 781 acres Tuesday in Routt National Forest southeast of Steamboat Springs.

“Everything just kind of aligned — the topography, the weather,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said about the fire’s growth. “It’s exactly what they’ve been expecting.”

The fire is not threatening any homes, but the nearest structures are about four miles to the southeast at Latigo Ranch in Grand County.

“There isn’t any immediate threat, but we are getting questions from people on the Kremmling side,” Voos said.

Firefighters have been able to keep the fire from crossing Forest Service Road 100, also known as Buffalo Park Road, but there have been some spot fires on the east side of the road.

A Chinook helicopter arrived Wednesday at Steamboat Springs Airport to help fight the fire, which was reported June 19 and was likely caused by lightning.

Precipitation later this week could help with firefighting efforts.

July saw below-average precipitation with the official measuring station in Steamboat recording 1.06 inches. Another weather observer measured 0.24 inches for the month of July. Average is 1.52 inches. August, on average, brings 1.6 inches of rain.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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