It's amazing, but it's true.
That was Norv Larson's reaction Monday as he looked over satellite images detailing the western United States.
Larson, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Monday's hazy and overcast conditions in Craig were the result of wildfires burning 923 miles away, near Los Angeles.
Larson added that although there are ongoing fires in southern Colorado and Utah, those are too small to generate the level of smoke that wafted through Northwest Colorado.
"These fires are so intense, they've put so much smoke into the atmosphere right now : these are really extraordinary, and once-in-a-season, or once-in-five-years-type fires," he said.
In another example of how much smoke the fires are generating, Larson said Grand Junction was under the same cloud of smoke as Craig.
"It looks overcast, but you can only pick out a few clouds," he said. "That is mostly smoke."
Larson couldn't say when smoky conditions would leave Craig.
Depending on weather patterns and fire activity, smoke may continue to find its way to Northwest Colorado throughout the next few days, he said.
Lynn Barclay, mitigation/education specialist and fire public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management in Craig, said she received reports by midday that smoke had reached as far as Grand County, on the other side of the Continental Divide.
She added that smoke plumes are not the only connection Craig has to the blaze in California.
The Craig Hotshots, an interagency team of locally based firefighters sponsored by the BLM, has been stationed in the San Bernardino National Forest until Monday, when they were reassigned to another area.
No information was available about the Hotshots' second assignment.
Colo. 13 closed during local fire response
Officials from the BLM, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Craig Fire/Rescue, county road and bridge and various aircrews responded Monday afternoon to a brush fire north of Craig on Moffat County Road 3.
No information was available about the size of the fire or its exact location, but Barclay said crews were burning grass along a portion of Colorado Highway 13 to form a boundary the fire wouldn't be able to cross.
The highway temporarily was closed while crews worked, Barclay said. The fire burned grass and brush, and no structures or property were threatened as of Monday evening, she added.