Here’s why your eyes and throat are burning lately, Denver

Anyone else find it really difficult to spend time outside today?

Birds fly over the city as smoke from western wildfires envelops Denver, Sept. 4, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Birds fly over the city as smoke from western wildfires envelops Denver, Sept. 4, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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You know that game you play this time of year in Denver where you’re constantly asking yourself if your itchy eyes and burning throat are the result of allergies or something else?

If you suffer from pollen allergies, there’s a good chance that’s what you’re feeling lately. There are also a number of large fires burning in neighboring states that could be making life outside hell for you lately.

Eight states in the West, including Colorado, are reporting large fires burning some 679,347 acres total, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Air quality in the metro area is listed as “moderate” today, according to the state’s health department. Everywhere else in the state is listed as “good.”

But one state in particular is contributing to the haze in Denver today. According to Chris Bianchi, a meteorologist with WeatherNation, our current weather pattern — that’s also bringing today’s heat — is coming from Arizona, where the fifth largest wildfire in the state’s history is burning.

“That southwesterly wind is bringing in smoke and heat,” Bianchi said.

The weather and wind direction should change Monday night, when a “cold” front comes in, bringing temperatures to the low 80s.

“We should get a switch in wind direction tomorrow that will help,” with the smoke, Bianchi said.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there is no Saharan dust mixed into the haze, at least not in Denver.

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