Smoky haze blankets valley, raises worries
May 22, 2002
A smoky haze blanketed the Roaring Fork Valley Tuesday and fed fears of a wildfire, but residents were just seeing results of blazes farther west.
Strong winds were apparently blowing smoke into the valley from a fire near Nucla, Colo., according to Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. That fire had grown to more than 1,000 acres by midafternoon Tuesday. It was in uninhabited terrain and wasn’t threatening structures.
Winds of 40 mph blew smoke into the midvalley. It created an eerie and ominous look. Thompson said people were on the alert for fire and were concerned that the strong winds would make matters worse. He estimated the Basalt fire department received 10 telephone calls from midvalley residents concerned about the smoky look and smell.
Numerous calls were also made to the Aspen-Pitkin County Communications Department. Haze and the smell of smoke were reported from residents in Old Snowmass, Lenado, Woody Creek and Holland Hills.
A ban on open fires remains in effect for Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties as well as the White River National Forest. The entire state remains plagued by a drought.