Authorities issue warnings over air quality from Lake Christine Fire | AspenTimes.com

Authorities issue warnings over air quality from Lake Christine Fire

Staff report

Smoke and ash from the fire in the Basalt and El Jebel area could pose health problems, authorities said.

"Even someone who is healthy can get sick if there is enough smoke in the air," according to a Pitkin Alert issued at 7:46 a.m. Thursday. "Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including coughing, trouble breathing, and chest pain. Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic health conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke."

An evacuation center is set up at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, where medical staff is available.

Residents in affected neighborhoods should remain indoors with their windows closed if the smoke is thick, authorities said.

The city of Aspen also issued a statement Wednesday cautioning about actor 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 due to smoke in your neighborhood, the air has reached unhealthy levels."

As of 3:21 p.m. Thursday, the city's air-quality monitor registered a score of 66, putting it in the 51-100 range for "moderate" quality. A score of 50 or below is considered "good," while 101 to 150 is considered "unhealthy" for "sensitive groups."

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Later Thursday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air-quality health advisory in Garfield County.

Residents in Garfield are advised to close the fresh-air intake for central air systems and avoid use of swamp coolers, buy a portable air cleaner that has high-efficiency filters, and avoid activities that add to indoor air pollution. Also, don't vacuum, burn candles, or use cooking methods that produce smoke.