SMOKE FROM THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP WILDFIRE IN SUFFOLK, VA MAY IMPACT SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA THIS EVENING AND INTO THE EARLY MORNING HOURS ON SATURDAY. POSSIBLE CODE ORANGE CONDITIONS: SUFFOLK, ISLE OF WIGHT, SOUTHAMPTON, SUSSEX, DINWIDDIE, GREENSVILLE, BRUNSWICK, NOTTOWAY, LUNENBURG, MECKLENBURG, PRINCE EDWARD, CHARLOTTE, HALIFAX, AND PITTSYLVANIA. STRONG WINDS AND/OR RAIN FROM HURRICANE IRENE SHOULD CLEAN OUT THE SMOKE SATURDAY MORNING.
SMOKE WILL NOT BE AN ISSUE IN VIRGINIA THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEKEND, THANKS TO HURRICANE IRENE.
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 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 (visibility 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 (visibility 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.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-4404 Fax: (804) 698-4510
Phone toll-free in Virginia: (1-800) 592-5482 ext. 4404
Work Email: Daniel.Salkovitz@deq.virginia.gov
Other Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATED: Special smoke impact discussion, Friday morning, August 26th
Smoke has worked it's way up through the Richmond area. In downtown Richmond, there is an obvious acrid smell of peat burning as of 10:15 am.
Code Orange conditions are likely through the rest of the day for the following cities/counties: Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Prince George, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Charles City, Hanover, Henrico and Powhatan.
Special smoke impact discussion, Friday morning, August 26th
Prior to the arrival of the heavy rain and high winds from Hurricane Irene, smoke from the Great Dismal Swamp fire continues to be problematic. There have been some very low visibilities reported at several National Weather Service observing locations this morning. As a result, Code Purple conditions are now likely in Suffolk for today. Code Red to occasionally Code Purple conditions are likely in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties. Code Orange to occasionally Code Red conditions are likely in Sussex and Surrey counties.
Smoke discussion, Wednesday afternoon, August 24th
Smoke from the Dismal Swamp fire will affect parts of Virginia on Wednesday night and Thursday.
Wednesday night: Code Purple conditions are likely near the fire in Suffolk, especially in the morning hours. Code Red conditions are likely at various times in the following counties/cities: Isle of Wight, Surrey. Code Orange conditions may occur in the following counties/cities: Charles City County, James City County, New Kent, King William, King and Queen, Essex, Westmoreland and Richmond County.
Thursday: The smoke plume will move slightly more towards the north and east compared to Wednesday night. Code Purple conditions are again likely in Suffolk. Code Red conditions may occur in Chesapeake, Norfolk, York County, Hampton, Newport News, and Poquoson. Code Orange conditions may occur at times in the following counties/cities: Accomack, Northampton, Gloucester, Mathews and Middlesex.
Friday: Winds should blow the smoke out of Virginia, towards North Carolina. However, if easterly (as opposed to northeasterly) winds occur, there could be several hours during the day when smoke could affect the counties bordering North Carolina as far west as Buggs Island Lake.
Special smoke impact discussion, Wednesday morning, August 24th
As expected, smoke from the Dismal Swamp fire has spread north and west this morning, essentially along Route 460 then north through the Tri-Cities into the metropolitan Richmond area. As a result, the following changes to today's air quality forecast are made effective immediately through 8:00 pm:
Code Purple: Suffolk
Code Red: Southampton and Isle of Wight counties.
Code Orange: Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Chesterfield, City of Richmond, Sussex, Surrey, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Powhatan, Goochland, Henrico and Hanover.