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Trinidad area, southeastern Colorado in path of heaviest smoke from New Mexico wildfires

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The wildfires that continue to burn in New Mexico are generating smoke that will be the worst Wednesday in southern Colorado, particularly in the Trinidad area.

KRDO

The map below, released just after 9 a.m. by the federal Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program, shows the predicted path of smoke:

Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program

The affected area includes recreational areas such as Trinidad State Park and the new Fishers Peak State park; heavy smoke is predicted to reach as far northeast as La Junta.

KRDO

"What we have is people who are calling in with genuine concerns because of how heavy the smoke is and where it's laying down across Trinidad," said Capt. Kenny Baker, of the Trinidad Fire Department. "What we've got is people who are scared because it's been tremendously dry, so they want to know if this is in our back yard."

KRDO

The agency expects areas of lesser smoke to cover most of state's eastern side, covering just east of Denver and Colorado Springs but including Pueblo, Walsenburg, Lamar and Springfield.

Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program

The agency also has air response advisors which, according to its website, are technical specialists trained to work on smoke issues from wildfires.

"We're meteorologists," said Bret Anderson, an advisor. "There are between 50 and 100 of us. We work in two-week shifts. The program started in 2012."

KRDO

Advisors are deployed nationwide during large smoke events and are dispatched to an incident to help with understanding and predicting smoke impacts on the public and fire personnel.

IWFAQRP

They analyze, summarize, and communicate these impacts to incident teams, air quality regulators and the public.

The smoke map is updated hourly; to see it, visit: https://fire.airnow.gov/#.

InciWeb

Four wildfires are currently burning in northern New Mexico, having damaged nearly 340,000 acres as of Tuesday.

Anderson said the current weather pattern blowing smoke into Colorado should change during the next 24 hours, and the smoke should remain in New Mexico for the weekend.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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