Denver was not the best place to be over the weekend. On Saturday, the city recorded the worst air quality of any city in the world for several hours as it continues to suffer the effects of the wildfires burning across the Western United States. The ranking published by IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company, listed Denver in the top spot of its ranking of 94 major world cities for several hours Saturday, with an air quality index that reached as high as 179. Late on Sunday morning, Denver had dropped to No. 2 with an index of 171, while Krasnoyarsk, Russia, took the top spot with a whopping 1,087. After Denver the next U.S. city on the ranking is Salt Lake City, which on Sunday was in sixth place with an index of 127.
Such a high ranking for Denver means people should wear masks outdoors, close windows, and avoid outdoor exercise. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said visibility in Denver was extremely poor and blamed smoke from wildfires for the situation. Despite the poor air quality, people still went out on Saturday and did outdoor activities. “You are definitely laboring a lot more. Much tougher to breathe, gasping. Sucks to be honest,” a man who went on a 40-mile bike ride told local NBC affiliate KUSA.
In California, firefighters continued struggling to control the massive Dixie Fire that has become the largest single wildfire in state history. The massive blaze grew again overnight to an area of 725 square miles and was only 21 percent contained.