Roaring Fork Valley haze is coming from wildfire in southern Utah
That familiar filtered yellow sunrise greeted the Roaring Fork Valley Thursday morning.
Smoke from wildfires burning in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and southern California are pumping smoke into the air, according to information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that was made available by the Bureau of Land Management.
“The wildfire in eastern Iron County of southwestern Utah rapidly expanded [Wednesday] afternoon and evening resulting in a huge, dense smoke plume which spread quickly to the east and east-northeast, reaching across the border into western Colorado just prior to sunset,” NOAA said in a notice.
The smoke is thicker closer to the Colorado-Utah border, but another potentially bluebird day in the Roaring Fork Valley was hazy instead. The forecast for Grand Junction and Rifle called for areas of smoke on Thursday.
Western Colorado’s air is being affected mainly by the Brian Head fire in Utah, according to Andrew Lyons, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. The fire started Saturday afternoon and has consumed more than 5,000 acres and was only about 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to news reports. The area is north of Zion National Park.
Colorado was said to be able to expect relief from the smoke and haze by Thursday evening, Lyons said. Winds have been from the west but were expected to shift to the northwest as a cold front moved through, Lyons said. “That will blow the smoke further to the south,” he said.
Winds are supposed to remain mostly from the northwest for the next few days, easing the chance of smoke returning.
Meanwhile, hot temperatures and high winds are producing critical fire weather throughout eastern Utah and into western Colorado. The fire weather warnings and watches haven’t extended into the Roaring Fork Valley yet.
It’s not uncommon for western fires to create haze in the Colorado mountains sometime during the summer.