Smoke in the valley coming from Arizona wildfires |

Smoke in the valley coming from Arizona wildfires

Aspen air quality deemed ‘moderate’ Monday morning

A smoky haze hangs over the mountains as seen from Snowmass Village on Monday, June 13, 2022.
Kaya Williams/Aspen Times

The haze of smoke in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout parts of Colorado on Monday mainly came from wildfires in Arizona, according to posts from public health, safety and weather agencies.

“Smoke from wildfires in Arizona will be transported northeast to Colorado over the next few days,” according to a Monday morning Colorado Smoke Outlook update from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Although widespread public health impacts are not anticipated at this time, hazy skies and light to moderate concentrations of smoke can be expected at times through Wednesday morning. The best chance for noticeable smoke Monday morning will be for interior valleys in the mountains.”

A forecast loop of projected smoke indicates that the smoke is “primarily drifting into Colorado from the Pipeline Fire near Flagstaff, AZ, which ignited yesterday,” according to a tweet from the National Weather Service Denver/Boulder forecast office.

“Most of the smoke is currently elevated and not near the surface (except in the high country), but expect increased surface concentrations later today as the hot conditions help mix down the air aloft,” another tweet from the National Weather Service in Boulder states.

Air quality went from “good” to “moderate” around 7 a.m. Monday in Aspen, according to the AirNow fire and smoke map. The air quality index (AQI) on Monday morning ranged from a score of 66 to 92; the threshold for a “moderate” designation is an AQI of 51 to 100, according to an AirNow fact sheet.

Under moderate air quality conditions, anyone can still go outside or open windows if they wish. Smoke-sensitive individuals should “consider keeping outdoor activities light and short,” according to the AirNow website.

The data comes from a permanent air quality monitor located at the Yellow Brick building in Aspen’s West End. AirNow is the result of a partnership between the “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies,” according to its website.

The Pitkin County Public Safety Council has additional information about responding to air quality changes and preparing for wildfires online at