People flock to Colorado for the great outdoors, but air pollution is leading to many days as residents get inside.

With easy winters, plenty of open space and endless outdoor recreation, it’s easy to see why Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the United States.

A.D. Ashley O’Connor, who moved from Chicago to Colorado in 2015, told Insider: We love joking around skyscrapers.

O’Connor and her husband are not alone. According to census data, Colorado is one of the fastest growing states from 2010 to 2020, growing by about 15%. Colorado real estate has also grown significantly over the years as the disease has spread, with people moving from urban areas to congested areas.

But one of the state’s biggest plans – overseas access – is at stake.

The air in Colorado is becoming more polluted, covering the foggy mountains, and public health officials say it is dangerous to be outside, let alone active.

In mid-September, Frank Flock, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said: “For the past three months, there have been three air quality alerts.” For the first time in weeks, we had a clear day when we could see the mountains.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 Overview of Lake Denver, downtown Denver, Colorado, Denver, Colorado.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 Overview of Lake Denver, downtown Denver, Colorado, Denver, Colorado.

Hying Chang / Media News Group / Denver Post / Getty Images


According to Flock, ozone pollution and wildfires are responsible for blurring the rising Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

This summer, Colorado Public Health officials will issue a daily ozone alert from July 5 to August 14, indicating a 41-day air quality alert. The state has issued 65 ozone action day alerts from June to August, more than any other year since 2016, when the current ozone standard was set.

‘Smokeless, smoky mountain ranges have become the norm’

The effects of climate change on long-term residents and their impact on external life are obvious.

“It’s really heartbreaking,” Susanna Joy, who lives in Colorado, often said. We have come a long way in our ability to enjoy life.

Joy grew up outdoors and, as far as possible, continued to love camping and outdoors. Her air quality and wildfires were not even on her radar, a significant difference in recent years.

“I never thought about air quality when planning outdoor adventures,” says Joy.

Posted by Susanna Joy (@susannagans)

Now, every morning she gets an email from a local newspaper that tells her the weather for that day, so she can decide if she wants to think about doing something outside.

There are many times when we plan a 40 mile bike ride and we don’t because the air quality is too bad or too hot.

Air quality testing has become part of everyday life in many Colorado. The Air Quality Index, or AII – a tool used by government agencies to communicate to the public how safe the air is on any given day – has become a hot topic at 14er or more than 14,000 feet. to walk.

Even for recent transplants, the change is easy to see, according to O’Connor, who lives in the Rockies in Summit County, home to some of the state’s most popular ski resorts, such as Brecneridge and Kaiston.

“Being outside is not just a hobby, it’s a way of life,” says Okoner. She enjoys skiing, cycling, sailing her boat to the Dillon reservoir, and walking several minutes from her home.

But she said: “The foggy, smoky mountain ranges have become a bit of a regular sight since they moved here.” Not just when we are willing to spend time outdoors but also how we spend it.

O’Connor said she and her husband sometimes wake up with “red, burning, itchy eyes” and even congestion due to bad weather.

The Sun shines on Mount Rock on Thursday, September 10, 2021, at sunset in Denver.

Behind the Rocky Mountains, on September 10, 2021, Colorado entered the region to create colorful sunsets and sunsets, and to raise air quality alerts.

David Zalubowski / Associated Press


The criminals’ ‘product we made’

According to Flock, ozone is the primary toxin that causes severe damage to Colorado air.

Colorado has the worst ozone level anywhere in the United States. A.D. In 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency is violating the Denver area’s “severe” federal air quality standards. The agency gave the state until July this year to control ozone pollution, but that deadline came and went.

Ozone is a natural gas and an artificial gas. As high as in the ozone layer, high levels of ozone protect the planet from ultraviolet rays. Groundwater, however, is emitted by substances such as cars, chemical factories, and oil and gas filters, and enters the air we breathe.

“Fluid depletion is primarily our own,” Flock said, while reducing ozone emissions.

A.D. A 2019 FOLLOW Collaborative Study The fossil fuels and transportation sectors have made a significant contribution to the ozone layer in Colorado.

Connect Denver to the mountains and cross traffic on Interstate 70 in Colorado, a major thoroughfare.

On January 7, 2018, Photo, Traffic will connect Denver to the mountains and support traffic on Interstate 70 on Colorado, a major thoroughfare.

Thomas Pepper / Associated Press


Millions of recent Colorado transplants do not understand the problem, as population and traffic congestion increase those emissions.

According to the EPA, ozone inhalation can lead to serious health consequences, including chronic conditions such as cough, sore throat, chest pain and shortness of breath, and reduced lung function. There is strong evidence that high ozone levels are associated with asthma attacks, increased hospitalizations, and increased mortality.

Careless groups, including the elderly, children, and people with respiratory problems, are particularly at risk, but high levels of ozone can trigger symptoms, even for people who are not at high risk.

‘The Fire Will Make All Things Bad’

Those effects are far greater than any other pollutants emitted by Colorado air – tiny particles from wildfires. Specific objects, or PM pollution, are tiny particles that are found in the air and can be inhaled when inhaled.

“The fire adds to the ozone depletion, making it worse,” says Flock.

E.P.P. Studies have linked the prime minister to heart or lung disease, heart failure, reduced lung function and early respiratory failure.

Even in the years of relatively low wildfires like Colorado, the state still operates at dangerous PM levels that have been stripped from other parts of the West. This year, fires in California and Oregon brought foggy and smoky days to Colorado.

Smoke from Glyzley Creek Fire Blankets Glenwood Canyon and Interstate August 26, 2020 in Glenwood Spring, Colorado.

Smoke from Glyzley Creek Fire Blankets Glenwood Canyon and Interstate August 26, 2020 in Glenwood Spring, Colorado.

Images by Alex Edelman / Getty


“Ozone is more than normal, and at the same time, particles are more than normal, they have made several pollution warning days,” says Flock. For people who are prone to pollution, this can make it difficult to truly be outside and enjoy life.

According to Flock, the meteorological conditions that prevent local ozone from flowing on cold fronts are similar to those caused by wildfires.

If we solve climate change, we will gradually tackle our air quality problems.

According to Rus Schumacher, director of the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University, wildfires will not affect Colorado’s air quality until the weather warms up.

Many studies back in 10 to 15 years have predicted that wildfires in the West could increase as the climate warms up. Now we see that.

According to Schumacher, wildfires are not only caused by climate change, but also by climate change and related droughts and heat waves.

“Climate change and climate change are” closely linked, “according to Flock.

Denver Skyline from the Cherry Creek Dam Road in Denver, Colorado, April 30, 2015.

Denver Skyline on a relatively clear day in 2015, as seen from the Cherry Creek Dam Road in Denver, Colorado.

Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post / Getty Images


But he said both crises could be resolved in Colorado by many similar actions. Strict regulations on oil and gas emissions, improving public transportation, and refusing to drive will all help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.

“If we solve the problem of climate change, we will gradually solve our air quality problems,” he said. “The solutions are” clear, “he said, but there must be a political will to implement them.

He said increasing awareness of air quality, partly due to wildfires and climate change, could lead to more pressure for change. Many transplants to the state can also have a positive effect.

People move to Colorado because they think they have clean mountain air. Perhaps they are more vulnerable to strict rules.

Joy echoed those sentiments, saying, “I really loved summer as a child, and I hope this is not just summer.”

While trying to minimize the impact on individuals’ emissions, she is trying to agree with the fact that “it will not change until we make some big changes to reduce the impact we are making.” It will continue to magnify. “

Do you have any news suggestions? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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