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Area Wildfires Affect Fort Collins Air and Water Quality

Released on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The City of Fort Collins and Fort Collins Utilities are carefully monitoring wildfires in the area and any potential impacts they may have on Fort Collins’ water supply infrastructure and air quality. Utilities must comply with water quality standards for treated drinking water per the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and state regulations, even in the event of a wildfire, and processes are in place to treat the water supply and adjust water sources when necessary.

The proximity of the Cameron Peak Fire, along with others currently burning in the state, is affecting air quality in Fort Collins. Symptoms of smoke exposure include watering and irritated eyes, coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. While smoke can impact anyone, sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with asthma and other respiratory concerns are especially at risk. Community members with COVID-19 can be especially sensitive to smoke and may experience worse symptoms during smoke events.

What can you do to stay safe?

  • Limit your physical activity and time outdoors.
  • Limit activities that increase air pollution such as idling your vehicle.
  • Close windows & doors in your home.
  • If you have central A/C, you can run it in “fan only” mode to recirculate air. If you don’thave AC, use ceiling or room fans to circulate inside air. You can also run your furnace in “fan only” mode. Be sure to check your air filter and replace if needed. 
  • If you do not have AC, you can also designate one room in your home to be a clean air room. Learn more.
  • If you or someone in your household has a medical condition requiring the use of AC or other equipment, you may qualify for Utilities’ Medical Assistance Program. 
  • Before heading out, check our local air qualityfor current conditions.
  • Check the smoke outlook by visiting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment webpage.
  • The State of Colorado currently has a statewide open fire ban in place with some exceptions. Learn more.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts with NoCoAlertsor call/text 970-962-2173.

The Cameron Peak Fire continues to burn on the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management team is in command of this fire; the latest incident information, including current maps, is available online.