Smoke from Canadian wildfires is back in the central Virginia air — again.
Monday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality elevated its air quality alert for Albemarle County to “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”
This means that people with health conditions (especially heart and lung conditions) could experience negative health effects due to the air quality, and should limit their time outdoors if possible.
The haze isn’t likely to stick around for long this time though, said CBS 19 meteorologist Travis Koshko.
“Winds should shift tomorrow [Tuesday] afternoon to the southwest, reducing the smoke concentration. There may be some lingering smoke in the air from Tuesday afternoon on, but nowhere near the levels we had in late June,” Koshko said Monday.
In June, air quality reached “unhealthy” and, later in the month, “very unhealthy” levels from these same wildfires, which have been burning since April and are so widespread and so severe that firefighters are struggling to contain them. Millions of acres have burned so far in what is Canada’s worst wildfire season in at least 40 years, by a significant margin, CNN reported.
As Charlottesville Tomorrow previously reported, this could be a recurring event throughout the summer, depending on the state of the wildfires and weather patterns.
The state measures air quality in central Virginia from a station at Albemarle High School. You can keep track of those air quality readings from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at this link. The site has a map of Virginia, where you can zoom into where you live. The New York Times is also maintaining a map of the smoke from Canada.
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More about the wildfire’s effect on central Virginia air quality
With hundreds of wildfires burning out of control, the smoke will likely return with the wind. Officials say N95 masks can filter out some of the worst of the smoke particles.
State escalates air quality alert in central Virginia to ‘very unhealthy,’ warns people to limit activity outside
“People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk,” says Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Air quality forecasts recommend folks limit their time outside, especially if they have heart or lung issues.
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