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Wildfire leads to hazy skies in Routt County, much of Western Colorado

by Steamboat Pilot (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) news reports |

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Skies over Routt County appeared hazy Wednesday afternoon, the result of a fire burning north of Grand Junction.

The Pine Gulch Fire, burning in Mesa and Garfield counties, grew to 9,210 acres Wednesday afternoon, according to officials. Periods of light to moderate smoke from the fire was expected across much of the Western Slope and as far as the Front Range, according to the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division.

While the biggest health impacts will mainly be confined to locations immediately surrounding the fire, hazy skies and elevated levels of fine particulates are expected across large portions of Western Colorado Wednesday and Thursday.

It was reported that a lightning strike caused the fire, located about 18 miles north of Grand Junction, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team. Containment reached about 5 percent by Tuesday night before the fire grew Wednesday.