Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issues health alert due to wildfire smoke

(WSLS)

Wildfires continue to blaze across the Commonwealth, with the Matts Creek wildfire in Bedford County spanning more than 5,000 acres as of Friday morning.

[READ MORE: Big Island residents getting concerned as Matts Creek wildfire spreads]

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In response to this, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a health alert through Friday night as a thick haze of smoke from several different wildfires drifts through a majority of the region.

Officials said the smoke contains unhealthy particle concentrations, putting many at risk.

The air quality in a number of localities ranges from code orange, meaning conditions are unhealthy for sensitive groups, to code maroon, meaning that conditions are hazardous. See the full list of affected counties below:

  • Rockbridge
  • Bedford
  • Augusta
  • Rockingham
  • Shenandoah
  • Page
  • Frederick
  • Warren
  • Amherst
  • Albemarle
  • Nelson
(WSLS 10)

Out of an abundance of caution, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality advises that:

  • Active children and adults limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities until conditions improve.
  • People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease, including asthma, avoid strenuous outdoor activities until conditions improve.
  • People with asthma follow their asthma action plans and keep quick-relief medicine handy.

At this time, data indicates that the air quality in Rockbridge County has fallen under the hazardous range, so all residents there should cut back on physical activities, whereas sensitive groups should refrain from it altogether.

For updates on air quality forecasts, click here.


About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.