Photo by John F. Russell
Fires in California and Utah made the sun appear red in the Steamboat Springs sky Monday evening. Eight fires in California, and another in Utah, have left the sky Steamboat hazy and have led to some unique sunsets.
Updated September 1, 2009 at midnight
Wildfire smoke tips
The smoke in the area is not expected to cause health problems, but people with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly may want to consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present.
People at risk may also want to consider the following activities:
- Limit outdoor activities and remain indoors with the windows and doors closed.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory membranes moist.
- Reduce your physical activity to decrease the inhalation of airborne pollutants.
- Reduce activities that increase indoor air pollution. For example, cigarette smoking, propane and/or wood-burning stoves and furnaces, cooking, burning candles and incense, and vacuuming can increase indoor particulate matter.
Source: Summit County Office of Emergency Management, courtesy of Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble
Steamboat Springs A couple of small lightning-caused local blazes were put out during the weekend, but Routt County residents are still dealing with the effects of wildland fire.
The smoky skies above Northwest Colorado are the result of numerous fires burning in California, and one in southwestern Utah, National Weather Service forecaster Joe Ramey said.
"Chances are, this smoke's going to stick around for a little while. It'll probably be until this weekend before we finally clear this all out" of western Colorado, Ramey said.
Eight fires in California continued to burn and grow Monday night, and the Mill Flat fire in southwestern Utah had consumed between 4,000 and 5,000 acres by Sunday. The Mill Flat fire has been burning for more than a month, according to Associated Press news reports, and it flared up during the weekend, leaving 12 square miles blackened.
Ramey said the wind in Routt County likely will subside today after gusts from a weather system in Wyoming buffeted the region Monday.
The strong winds also contributed to increased fire risk, and Routt County was placed on the edge of a red flag warning area Monday as relative humidity fell and winds remained strong.
Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble said the wind was blowing strong in Hayden, and the entire county remained dry.
Ramey said the red flag warning is put in effect when relative humidity remains at 15 percent or lower, and winds remain at 25 miles per hour or stronger for three hours.
Steamboat was at a lower risk than other parts of western Colorado because the cooler temperatures kept relative humidity at a slightly higher level, he said.
A lightning strike behind The Home Ranch in Clark ignited a single tree during the weekend. North Routt Fire Protection District and Colorado State Parks fire crews quickly put out the fire, said Lynn Barclay, spokeswoman for the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.
Barclay said another lightning-sparked fire near Sand Mountain, northwest of Clark, burned about one-tenth of an acre. The fire was reported at 4:20 a.m. Sunday and was contained by about 1 p.m. Monday.
Another small fire near Dry Lake Campground, reported on Thursday, was contained by Monday, Barclay said.