Hazy skies linger over Hampton Roads as wildfires burn in Canada


PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — You’ve probably noticed there’s a haze hanging over Hampton Roads.

“Yes, it’s still a little bit hazy for sure,” said Dan Salkovitz, a meteorologist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), “but it is definitely improving.”

Wildfires burning thousands of miles away in parts of Canada are the cause.

Those fires have caused concern for some over the last few days, even leading to several air quality alerts being issued on Wednesday.

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On Thursday, however, Salkovitz said air quality is clearing up thanks to a shift in the weather overnight. He noted the pollution is now so high in the sky it’s not affecting the air people breath. But for how long?

” As long as those fires are burning you know, it’s a potential problem,” he said.

Kevin Stewart, Director of Environmental Health Sciences with the American Lung Association said,
“We do see that there are still people who have problems with air pollution even when its in the moderate range, the yellow.”

Stewart advises those at risk to avoid outdoor exercise and strenuous activity on high pollution days. He warns that more of those could be coming while pointing to plumes of smoke on fireairnow.gov.

“If we get out of this episode don’t necessarily think we’re done with this. It could happen again very shortly,” Steward told WAVY.

Staying informed is most important.

“Although this may be an episode we know because of climate change these type of events are more likely to occur and recur in the future,” added Steward

You can get hourly air quality reports, and warnings from the DEQ. You can also sign up to have a daily forecast sent to you via email.

The American Lung Association also has a hotline, 1-800-LUNG-USA, staffed by nurses and respiratory therapists who can answer medical questions.

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