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Bio-environmental Airmen monitor Colorado Front Range air quality

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Dean Miller
  • Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
Visibility continues to change dramatically along the Front Range of Colorado Springs, Colo., as wildfires burn on the western edge of the city.
With the air quality affected by the fires, Air Force Space Command bio-environmental Airmen are monitoring the situation to allow commanders to better care for Airmen, their families and the workforce here.

"By monitoring air in the region continuously, we know the air is safe and of satisfactory quality for the general population," said Lt. Col. Tim Mukoda, the AFSPC bio-environmental engineer. "However, there have been some pretty extreme events with heavy smoke and ash reaching our neighborhoods and some work environments."

The AFSPC bio-environmental team is monitoring fine particulate matter, ozone concentrations and carbon monoxide concentrations. People with unusual air quality sensitivity are encouraged to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion during times of increased smoke and ash. This is especially applicable to young children, the elderly and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions who are sensitive to air quality.

"There have been instances of thick smoke and ash; there may be more," said Mukoda. "If you see a significant change in air quality, the best thing people can do is shelter in place -- remain indoors, close windows, turn off air conditioners and wait for the smoke to clear."

Comparison of current air quality to data collected year-round shows increased particulate matter, but well within safety limits for breathing.

"We are seeing some changes -- normal with an event as big as the Waldo Canyon Fire - but we're not seeing a great difference from our normal data. In simple terms, the air is fine," said Mukoda "It's different than what we're all used to ... but, it is safe, and our team will keep monitoring it."