- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Smoke from large wildfires in other Western states prompted Colorado officials to expand a health advisory Friday to the northern half of their state.

The heavily populated Denver-Fort Collins corridor was included, along with cities ranging from Grand Junction near the state’s western border to Julesberg in the northeast corner.

The smoke was not likely to leave soon, said Christopher Dann, a spokesman for the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, part of the state health department.

“It’s going to be a smoky weekend,” he said.

Relief could come next week if a developing weather pattern blocks more smoke from moving into Colorado from the fires in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, Dann said.

The health department cautioned people with respiratory or heart problems to stay indoors if smoke is heavy. Young children and the elderly are also vulnerable.

With children returning to classes, Dann advised school officials to curtail outdoor activity for more vulnerable children if conditions are bad.

Air quality is unhealthy if visibility is less than 5 miles, officials said. Visibility on Friday ranged from 6 miles in Craig in northwestern Colorado to 8 miles in Denver and 10 in Aspen, the National Weather Service said.

Separately, the Weather Service warned that wildfire danger was high in the northwestern corner of the state because of gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation. The warning was in effect until 9 p.m. Friday.

Wildfire managers were monitoring two small lightning-caused blazes in Colorado.

A 52-acre fire was burning in the San Juan National Forest near Dolores, 240 miles southwest of Denver. A 41-acre fire in the Rio Grande National Forest was burning near Capulin, 175 miles south of Denver.

A fire that burned about 1.5 square miles near Craig was fully encircled and most of the crews were released to fight other blazes.


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