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Water, Earth, Sky

Rusty Dennen writes about the environment and the great outdoors.

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Dismal swamp fire smoke update

Dan Salkovitz, a meteorologist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, says this morning that the smoke plume from Great Dismal Swamp is  affecting York County, Newport News, Hampton, and Poquoson . As a result, the air quality forecast is updated to Code Red for those areas, with  Code Orange conditions in Northampton, Accomac, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. A report yesterday indicated the smoke could move as far north as the Northern Neck. The fire was started by a lightning strike on Aug. 4.

Quoting from the press release:  “Here are some general guidelines for citizens to use in assessing local air quality conditions whenever there is wildfire smoke present:

- If you can smell smoke with no visibility impairment, air quality levels are probably in the Code Orange range, or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. At Code Orange levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should reduce prolonged, strenuous outdoor activities. People who are active outdoors also should take it easier to limit their exposure to particle pollution.

- If you can smell smoke with minor visibility impairment, air quality levels are probably in the Code Red range, or generally Unhealthy. At Code Red levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid prolonged, strenuous outdoor activities; everyone else should reduce prolonged, strenuous outdoor activities.

- If you can smell smoke with significant visibility impairment, air quality levels are probably in the Code Purple range, or Very Unhealthy. At Code Purple levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities; everyone else should avoid prolonged, strenuous outdoor activities.”

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/waterearthsky/2011/08/18/dismal-swamp-fire-smoke-update/