Steep Valley Fire Reanimates; Air Quality Deteriorates

Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): The Steep Valley brush fire has reanimated and very poor air quality will expand into early Wednesday.

AIR QUALITY CONCERNS: Code Red Air Quality has filled the New River Gorge National Park at the base of Sandstone Mountain near I-64. As the nocturnal inversion develops, air quality will continue to worsen. As the surface to mid-level wind direction shifts from the North to Southeast, the smoke will expand towards Route 19 overnight into Wednesday. Watch for air quality to deteriorate in Beaver, Beckley and perhaps as far north as Oak Hill and Fayetteville early Wednesday.

The smoke and air quality will likely be in the moderate range on Wednesday. The wind will shift to the southwest but be rather light Wednesday night into Thursday. A strong subsidence inversion will develop early Thursday and trap the smoke and a light south wind on Thursday could spread whatever smoke remains farther north along Route 19.

TRAVEL ALERT: Smoke will obscure visibility on I-64 between Sandstone Mountain (near the New River Gorge) and Beckley overnight. Travelers should allow extra time if they need to drive through this section of the roadway.

BRUSH FIRE CONCERNS: The relative humidity will once again drop to 25-35% on Wednesday afternoon and with warm temperatures, the Steep Valley fire will likely expand in size. The humidity will be slightly higher on Thursday and then 0.25-0.35″ of rain is expected Friday night into early Saturday. A cooler trend will likely settle in for the weekend, slightly decreasing the risk for the Steep Valley fire to spread.

RAINFALL OUTLOOK: A moisture-logged storm system is looking likely for Monday night to Tuesday night (Nov. 20-21) that will likely help crews contain more of the Steep Valley fire.

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