Boulder Establishes Air Quality Alert System After Marshall Fire

BOULDER, CO — Boulder County announced Monday that it has established an air quality monitoring and alert system for people who live in and around the areas impacted by the Marshall Fire.

The health department has planted up to 25 air quality monitors throughout the affected and nearby areas to provide immediate and accurate data and information concerning the local air quality, according to a news release. The monitors, solar-powered and connected with cellular technology, track the “volume of ultrafine pollutants called particulate matter” in the air.

The information that these monitors collect will be available 24/7, accessible through Boulder’s website, according to the news release. Locals can also opt in to receive email or text alerts about the air quality in the area.

The data that this new monitoring system collects will be scaled to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index, which measures air quality from zero to 500, the news release said. The higher the number on the scale, the worse the air quality in the area.

A value of 50 or below is considered “good,” while a value of 100 or above is considered “unhealthy,” and a value of 300 or above is considered “harmful.”

The health department recommends people living near the burn areas monitor their indoor air quality and get their home’s HVAC ducts professionally cleaned as soon as possible. The department also suggests that those living near those burn areas limit their time outdoors on particularly windy days, and if they must be outside, wear a mask.

As of Tuesday morning, the air quality monitor planted at the Marshall Mesa Trail was “good,” with the suggested action that it is a “great day to be active outside.”

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