Chaffee County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory for wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. today, effective until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The affected area is northeastern Saguache, southeastern Chaffee and northwestern Fremont counties, including Alder, Villa Grove, Salida, Cleora and Wellsville.

“The increasing smoke in the air has been a concern for Chaffee County Public Health, especially over the past 24 hours,” Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County public health director, said in a press release.

“We encourage all Chaffee County residents and visitors to take the (health advisory) recommendations seriously. For more urgent respiratory health matters, please contact your primary care physician.” 

Public Health recommended that if smoke becomes thick, residents may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly. 

Residents should consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present and relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making them ill. 

If visibility is less than 5 miles in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy, Carlstrom said.

The advisory stated that periods of moderate to heavy smoke from the Decker wildfire were forecast from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning. 

Smoke was expected to generally move to the northeast of the fire toward the Chaffee/Fremont county line Tuesday evening and could bring periods of heavy smoke to Salida, Cleora and Wellsville. 

Heavier smoke was expected Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to locations below the fire to the south and southwest in northeastern Saguache County. Areas with the heaviest smoke impacts will be along and near U.S. 285 from Alder south to Villa Grove.

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