Wildfires Spark in Eastern W.Va., Va.; Health Alert Issued

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): A gusty west wind coupled with low humidity and dry soil prompted a rash of wildfires to break out in Virginia on Wednesday.

Brush fires triggered moderate to unhealthy (CODE RED Air Quality) from northern Virginia to Washington, D.C., and its southern suburbs (see image above). Folks traveling to Virginia or who have family and friends there should be vigilant of poor air quality, particularly north of I-64.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a broad health alert from Wednesday evening through Thursday, March 21, 2024 due to the potential/existence of unhealthy particle concentrations due to smoke. Active children and adults should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities until conditions improve. People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), should avoid strenuous outdoor activities until conditions improve. 

The following schools in West Virginia (eastern Panhandle) have a two-hour delay on Thursday due to today’s high winds and brush fires: Grant and Pendleton. Hardy County schools have a 3-hour delay. A few county schools in Virginia are closed on Thursday due to today’s high wind and air quality concerns.

Dry weather, low humidity and a breezy northwest wind will likely re-ignite brush fires in this region on Thursday, with new activity possible.

A northwest wind direction through Thursday will keep the smoke away from southern West Virginia. On Friday, the wind will switch to the south and southeast. Smoke from brush fires in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina could get integrated into the atmosphere south of Beckley on Friday, however, air quality will likely not reach moderate air quality.

Chief Meteorologist Chad Merrill has the details:

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