Sun. Sep 24th, 2023


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Air quality zone alert issued for Denver, Highlands Ranch, Golden

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An ozone alert was issued Saturday afternoon for the Front Range’s urban corridor after storms move through the region and leave behind warmer, stagnant weather.

The ozone action alert will be in effect from 4 p.m. Saturday until at least 4 p.m. Sunday and it will stretch from Douglas County to Larimer and Weld counties, according to an advisory from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council.

Ozone concentrations were in the good category most of Saturday.

On Sunday, however, they are expected to reach moderate to unhealthy levels for sensitive groups, which include the elderly and people with asthma. People who are affected by unhealthy air quality should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities from noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday, the CDPHE advisory said.

Exposure to unhealthy ozone can trigger asthma attacks and other acute respiratory problems.

The highest ozone concentrations on Sunday are expected in the southern and western portions of Metro Denver, including Highlands Ranch and Golden.

Smoke from wildfires and prescribed burns around the state were causing little haze on Saturday, the advisory said.

Metro Denver and the Northern Front Range are classified as severe air pollution violators by the Environmental Protection Agency. The state has failed for years to meet federal air quality standards, and the federal government is imposing stricter regulations on air pollution until the state cleans up its smog.

On Friday, the Regional Air Quality Council recommended the state ban the sale of small, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment such as push mowers, weed trimmers, leaf blowers and chain saws in nine Front Range counties. It also recommended that government agencies and commercial operators be banned from using the gas-powered equipment from June 1 to Aug. 31 when ground-level ozone concentrations are at their highest.

The Regional Transportation District is offering free bus and train rides during July and August to discourage people from driving, which is a major contributor to air pollution.

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