City of Fort Collins Monitors Air Quality During Winter Months

Larimer County Celebrates Air Quality Awareness Week

The Fort Collins community pays close attention to the local air quality more than ever, as last year’s wildfires remain a recent memory.

Air quality is important year-round, even in the winter months compared to summer months. Ozone and particles in the air from woodland fires are primary concerns during the summer months, yet winter weather patterns frequently create poor air quality conditions.

Thermal inversions are common during winter months where warmer air sits above colder air and traps particulate matter, carbon monoxide, smoke from indoor fireplaces, orders, and other contaminants close to the surface. Cold air is also denser and moves slower, forcing it to mix less than during the warmer months.

Less mixing means potentially higher pollution concentrations at ground level. High pollution concentrations can negatively impact health, including a person’s lungs and nervous system.

Ways to reduce air pollution in the winter months are as follows:

  • Avoid idling vehicles for over 30 seconds.
  • Avoid using solid fuel-burning appliances and devices like smokers, barbecues, fireplaces, fire pits, wood stoves, etc., on Winter High Pollution Advisory days unless they are EPA certified or are the only source of heat.
  • Only use clean, dry, and seasoned wood in an EPA approved wood stove or appliance.

For more information regarding the local air quality index daily, visit: or to view additional tips for indoor burning, visit:

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