Heat Wave Pushes Denver Air Quality To Unhealthy Levels

By Rebekah Gonzalez

June 17, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

The excessive heat in Denver this week is prompting unhealthy air quality levels.

The air quality in the city and other areas along the Front Range had already reached unhealthy levels by Tuesday evening (June 15), according to FOX31.

“There’s a lot of chemicals in the atmosphere. Many of them we can’t even see, like ozone,” Pinpoint Meteorologist Chris Tomer told FOX31.

“Everything – the pollution, the smoke, the ozone – gets trapped right here where we live, and it gets sealed in. It’s like a pot you put on a stove. It’s like putting a lid on that pot, and everything down here gets trapped, and the heat, the convection – all of that,” Tomer said. “The 100 degrees just keeps things kind of swirling down here, and we breathe it in. We’ll rebreathe it, days and days out.”

Denver's air-quality experts with the Department of Public Health and Environment are asking residents to be strategic about their outdoor activities.

“If you are one that can tolerate the heat, and you do get outside, the afternoon ozone levels can be high,” Gregg Thomas, environmental quality division director told FOX31. "Please don’t mow your lawn until after 5 in the evening, because the sun starts to get a little less active at that point, and you are just running out of time in the day to generate those chemical reactions that form ozone."

Experts suggest driving less during the current weather to keep emissions down. They also want to remind residents to not use fire pits and chimneys during this season, which is also illegal during wildfire season in Denver.

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