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L.A. fires: A look at why your mouth tastes like an ashtray this morning

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As I mentioned in a blog yesterday about

Ken Levine, host of the Dodger Talk radio show, who treated Denver like a joke

in a recent post, I lived in Los Angeles for five years -- so I'm accustomed to days when the air available for inhaling looks practically indistinguishable from exhaust from a diesel bus. Still, the current atmospheric situation in the City of Angels is much more extreme than usual thanks to a series of SoCal fires whose smoke recently arrived in Denver for a prolonged visit. For an unusual look at the culprit, check out the time-lapse video above -- taken by a camera near the La Cañada-Flintridge-area blaze known as the Station Fire over a 24-hour period beginning at just past 6 p.m. on August 28.

After the jump, peruse an advisory from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, whose officials suggest that the very young, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing respiratory issue limit outdoor activity until the smoke clears. And the rest of us? Breathe only when absolutely necessary.

Colorado Smoke Health Advisory Issued

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is issuing a smoke health advisory for Northwest and North-central Colorado for those individuals with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly. Significant smoke from fires in Canada, Utah, Colorado, California and other western states will continue to cause widespread haze in Colorado on Tuesday. Smoke should gradually diminish later this afternoon and evening in most areas.

Fine particulate levels in the air currently are in the "unhealthy-for-sensitive-groups" category in Garfield County and are likely in that range in other areas across Northwest and North-central Colorado due to smoke from the forest fires.

State health officials reported the highest concentrations are expected to occur in Northwest and North-central Colorado, generally north of I-70, possibly as far east as the Front Range. Much of the rest of Colorado will see concentrations in the "moderate" range.

Pat Reddy, a meteorologist with the department's Air Pollution Control Division, said, "If visibility is less than 5 miles in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy. When smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood, remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly.

"Consider limiting outdoor activity when "moderate" to heavy smoke is present," he said.

For the latest Colorado air quality information and smoke outlook, visit

http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/addendum.aspx http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/air_quality.aspx

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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