The highest concentration of the smoke from the Great Dismal Swamp fire stayed east of I-95 Saturday afternoon. This combined with rainfall on Sunday will allow the air quality to drop from "Code Red" to "Code Yellow". This means those who are very sensitive to air quality issues will still be affected by the smoke levels.
Even with the rainfall Sunday and the continued fire-fighting efforts, the fire will still take quite awhile to be completely extinguished. Smoke levels for the week ahead will be monitored, and air quality forecasts may reach code red status again.
Here is a review from the Virginia DEQ about smoke levels and effects on your health:
- 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 or 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 (1 to 3 miles), 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 or strenuous outdoor activities; everyone else should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities.
- If you can smell smoke with significant visibility impairment (less than 1 mile), 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 or strenuous outdoor activities.
Here is a picture of fire and park rangers near the fire:
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Thanks to the smoke from Great Dismal Swamp fire in southeast Virginia, air quality for much of the area is in the CODE RED category. This means the air will be unhealthy, and visibility in smoke may drop to 1 to 3 miles at times.
An air quality warning is in effect for many areas surrounding the I-95 corridor. Downpours on Sunday will help wash the air a bit, but smoke will be an issue until the entire fire in the swamp has been extinguished.