A recent report ranked Denver, Colorado the sixth-best city in terms of breathable air. Which is actually interesting because this year, Denver has had the worst air quality in literally the entire world... but let's hear this out for a moment.

According to a report by Aeris, which is an air purifier manufacturer, the Mile High City is one of the best in the United States in terms of clean, unpolluted air. It's possible that at any other time, this may be true and we can breathe easy knowing we've got some good air. But right now — it's definitely not the case. Given that this report was published in July of 2021, here's what it said about Denver's air quality, typically.

'We determined each city’s score from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their impact on a city’s overall air quality,' the report said. 'The sum of these weights is 10, which creates a total possible city score of 50.'

Denver's overall score was 35.65 out of 50, which made it the #6 best city to breathe in, coming in behind Seattle, Boston, New York (What?), Raleigh and Minneapolis.

Denver:

  • Scored a 'D' in particle pollution grade (not great)
  • Had an allergen score of 49 (pretty good)
  • Had 90% of residents in walking distance of a park (awesome)
  • Had a 15% smoker population (must not include weed)
  • Had 625,357 acres burned by wildfires in 2020 (BAD)

Again, this report is dated the end of July, and just days later, the Denver area's air quality was ranked the sixth-worst in the world, as well as being the worst in the Western Hemisphere.

So it's not really 'funny,' but it is ironic that we normally have some of the healthiest air and now, it's awful. While in 2020 we were under our own wildfire smoke, this year, we've been subject to plumes of smoke drifting from the Northwest. Below is what Denver looked like on August 28, via Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

CDPHE

This week, Fort Collins is also receiving haze from Grand County's Black Mountain Fire. You an read more about the current air quality here.

2020 Cameron Peak Fire