Cody: Smoky Skies, Bad Air, and High Fire Danger
Written by Andrew-Rossi on July 9, 2021
Several factors are contributing to the hazardous atmosphere surrounding Cody, which means residents need to be extra careful to stay safe and avoid wildfires.
The National Weather Service (N.W.S) has two Hazardous Weather Outlooks in effect for Cody and northwest Wyoming on Friday, July 9. Normal summer conditions mix with abnormal phenomena in the current climate to create a potential “perfect storm” of fire danger.
Multiple red flag warnings for wind and fire danger are in effect throughout Wyoming over the weekend and into next week.
According to the N.W.S., “critical fire weather conditions over central, south and western areas during the afternoon and evening. Additionally, gusty west and northwest winds are expected during the afternoon and evening with 40 to 50 mph gusts. Winds and fire danger decreases after sunset.”
Then – starting Saturday, July 10 and continuing to Thursday, July 15 – the weather turns. “Isolated to widely scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms” are possible throughout much of the state.
While these warnings mainly impact central and southern Wyoming, Cody is still affected. The forecast of the weekend of July 10 & 11 calls for strong breezes and temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s.
Next week, Cody could also experience showers and thunderstorms. Current weather forecasts have a 30% of thunderstorms between Tuesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 15.
Meanwhile, an Air Quality Alert is in effect for Yellowstone, Cody, and most of Park County until 1 p.m. on Friday, July 9.
Smoke from wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest descended on Cody yesterday evening. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, and the Wyoming Department of Health anticipate the smoke will persist until at least Friday afternoon.
The alert covers the entirety of Yellowstone National Park and Park County and stretches all the way south to Dubois and Jackson. While prolonged exposure can negatively affect anyone, certain people should definitely avoid outdoor activities under the alert is canceled.
“The Wyoming Department of Health recommends that the elderly, young children, and individuals with respiratory problems avoid excessive physical exertion and minimize outdoor activities during this time. Wildfire smoke is made up of a variety of pollutants, including particulate matter and ozone, which can cause respiratory health effects. Although these people are most susceptible to health impacts, the Department of Health also advises that everyone should avoid prolonged exposure to poor air quality conditions.”
All these conditions are prime conditions for wildfires to start, grow, and get out of control anywhere in Wyoming.
Nearly all federal and state lands in northwest Wyoming are under Stage One Fire Restrictions, including Yellowstone and Shoshone National Forest. These restrictions ban several activities to reduce the chance of a human-caused wildfire.
Park County enacted its only Stage One Fire Restrictions on July 1. Any violation of these restrictions may be punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to a $100.00 fine or both, in addition to restitution should the fire cause any significant damages.