Smoke from Northwestern wildfires affecting air quality in Hampton Roads

Smoke from Northwestern wildfires affecting air quality in Hampton Roads
·1 min read

Smoke from wildfires in the Northwest United States and Canada have traveled to portions of Hampton Roads, according to forecasters.

Over 80 blazes have been spotted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s fire detection map over the past several days. Forecasters say smoke from those fires were pulled east through the jet stream, affecting air quality in some states as it went.

“It’s worse across the Northeast right now but you’ll certainly be seeing that hazy, highlighted sunrises across Hampton Roads,” Mike Montefusco, lead forecaster from NWS in Wakefield said.

New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maryland were among states operating under air quality alerts Wednesday. The Department of Environmental Quality issued a health alert for all of Virginia, according to DEQ Meteorologist Dan Salkovitz.

“We have monitors that measure pollutants in the air continuously and right now they’re quite high,” Salkovitz said. “In the Hampton Roads area they’re not quite as high as other areas in Virginia, but they’re climbing.”

As of noon Wednesday, the monitor in the Hampton Roads area measures the air quality at yellow was approaching orange, according to DEQ’s website.

“We’re essentially orange across the state today. Once we get into that orange category that’s when we get concerned for people with any existing ailments,” Salkovitz said.

Officials from the DEQ suggest unusually sensitive people with preexisting heart or breathing ailments, should reduce prolonged activity outdoors.

Salkovitz says a cold front coming from the Northeast should improve air quality throughout the state this afternoon.

Lyndon German, frederick.german@virginiamedia.com

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