California smoke creates Aspen haze |

California smoke creates Aspen haze

Aspen Times Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” It’s hazy in Aspen. Blame California.

Smoke from wildfires in northern California reached western Colorado in the form of haze on Saturday, giving what would otherwise be crisp, bluebird days in Aspen a hazy cast that persisted into Tuesday.

Locally, though the aspen leaves have barely begun to change color, visitors hoping to snap dazzling photos of the mountains may find their efforts thwarted by the conditions.

The haze is the result of sunlight being filtered through tiny particles in the atmosphere carried east by the wind, explained Lee Cassin, Aspen’s director of environmental health. Concentrated at the site of the fires, the smoke particles are diffused by the time the plume reaches Colorado. Light coming through a thick layer of diffused particles creates the hazy cast, she said.

The haze doesn’t pose a health threat here, Cassin said, but in California, the San Juaquin Valley Air Pollution District issued an emergency warning late last week, advising residents to limit the time they spent outdoors, inhaling pollution from a fire in the Plumas National Forest.

Another fire was burning in the northeast Sierra Nevada.