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Western Wildfires Causing Health Concerns In Colorado

By Tom Mustin

DENVER (CBS4) - Headaches, burning eyes, and a scratchy throat. If you're experiencing any of those symptoms, you're not alone. At least 56 wildfires burning across the West are pouring smoke into Colorado.

denver smoke (1)
(credit: CBS)

Doctors say residents, especially those with lung or heart problems, should avoid the outdoors until the haze clears up.

The Labor Day haze covered up the Mile High City -- turning Denver into a sort of L.A. East, and taking a toll on residents.

"Just hard to breathe. Real hard to breathe," Mick Tuttle told CBS4's Tom Mustin.

Smoke from more than 50 fires burning from California to Montana settled over the Front Range.

Burning eyes and irritated lungs put doctors like Dr. Barry Make, from National Jewish Health, on standby.

Barry Make
Dr. Barry Make (credit: CBS)

"This is terrible pollution," he told Mustin. "People will notice they're having more sneezing, more runny noses, more itchy eyes, watery eyes. They can't see. That's all normal because of what's happening inside."

FORTitude 10K
FORTitude 10K (credit: CBS)

In Fort Collins, runner Mike Bergerson felt the burn during the FORTitude 10K.

"Yeah I felt it. You could tell it was in the air," he said. "I had to stop a couple different times. But it was just a little more in the chest."

At A Taste of Colorado in Denver, Vanessa Lucero had had enough.

Vanessa Lucero
Vanessa Lucero (credit: CBS)

"It's hard to breathe," she said. "We almost turned around on the highway because it was so thick I think we're going to be leaving soon because it just feels so horrible. It doesn't make you feel good, "said Lucero.

Make says the smoke can be a real health issue to people with asthma or other respiratory problems.

Until the air clears, he advises everyone to stay off their bikes and get inside.

"To sum up, get a good filter in you're A.C. system. Stay inside and use air conditioning if you have it," he said.

A Taste Of Colorado
(credit: CBS)


An air quality health advisory has been issued until 9 a.m. Tuesday. Until then, limit your outdoor activity. If you experience any respiratory problems, go inside to an air-conditioned building. If problems continue, call your doctor.

Tom Mustin is CBS4's Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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