10 News Xtra: How wildfire smoke spreads differently at night vs. during the day

The time of day is a huge indicator as to how wildfire smoke travels and impacts your health

ROANOKE, Va. – Air quality and the impact on your health are front and center with the Matts Creek fire burning thousands of acres.

How smoke travels is closely linked to the time of day.

Watch and read below.

At night, warmer air above the surface keeps smoke locked in at ground level. During the day, warm air rises. Smoke rises with it to a point where the wind blows it around more.

[READ MORE: Several counties in Central, Southwest Virginia under burn ban]

Smoke continues to drift into parts of Bedford, Rockbridge, Amherst and Nelson Counties through at least Friday. This will produce unhealthy air quality at times, so be sure to keep windows shut, limit time outdoors and have a mask ready.

Stronger wind gusts Saturday will allow the fire to spread farther south and east. That, in tandem with very low humidity, creates the threat of more brush fires.

Exceptionally high fire threat Saturday, 11/18/2023

Camp fires, cigarette butts and hot bullets on the foliage from hunting can ignite new fires.

Be extra careful. Most of us are under a drought. It’s considered ‘severe’ and even ‘extreme’ in parts of the area.

Drought Monitor as of Thursday, 11/16/2023

Watch my Instagram reel below for more updates on the Matts Creek fire, how much rain we need to overcome the drought and when we can expect a good soaking.

Download our free weather app here for frequent forecast updates.

Send any pictures of smoke you see through Pin It here.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.