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Fort Collins Air Pollution During High Park Fire Was Some of the Worst in the World

Smoke and burned trees from the High Park Fire
@northfortynews, Twitpic

Everyone who lives around here remembers the smoky haze that descended upon our neighborhood during the High Park Fire.  We all remember the air quality advisories that lasted for days as the fire raged on.  But exactly how bad was the pollution during those four weeks?  The answer made my lungs hurt all over again.

At some times of day when you could see haze when looking down the street, the particulates in Fort Collins air made the toxicity of the air here about as severe as it is in Beijing, home of some of the most polluted air in the world, said John Volckens, co-author of a Colorado State University study published this month showing how concentrated the pollution was in Fort Collins during the High Park Fire.

via The Coloradoan.

The CSU study goes on to say that High Park Fire air pollution was worse than the worst days of air pollution in Mexico City.

Good Lord!

I remember we couldn’t even walk our dog on some afternoons during the fire, because he would start sneezing uncontrollably.  If I’d known it was that bad, we wouldn’t have even gone outside!

It’s crazy to think that out living conditions were that bad, and humans played no part in it.  Lightning, dry conditions, and strong winds polluted the air that much!  It’s kind of hard to believe.

As helpless as this made me feel at first, I realized I’m glad the High Park Fire was a natural occurrence.  Yes, the pollution was terrible; but at lease nobody in our community was to blame for it.  I’m still proud to be a part of this community, and I guess that’s what really matters in the end…right?

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