Daily forecasts track smoke from southern fires

May 30, 2007

At the request of the Georgia State Department of Health, scientists with the Southern Research Station Smoke Management Team located at the Center for Forest Disturbance Science in Athens, GA, are producing daily smoke forecasts which help communities determine potential health risks caused by current wildfires across south Georgia and north Florida. Smoke from these fires has impacted major airports and interstates throughout both States, and statewide air quality advisories have been issued. Smoke forecasts will be particularly useful when deciding to issue warnings for sensitive populations such as infants and children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic heart or lung diseases such as asthma.

The forecasts show smoke concentrations over continuous 72-hour periods, combining detailed weather forecasts with information about the fire to estimate the amount of smoke produced and where that smoke will be transported. The smoke forecasts focus on a specific class of pollutant, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter or PM 2.5, that is known to be associated with respiratory problems and is a criteria pollutant measured by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

"The smoke forecasts are extremely useful to communities surrounding wildfires as well as those in neighboring States," says Dr. Scott Goodrick, Smoke Management Team research meteorologist. "Our research also helps Incident Command Teams suppressing these fires, providing information they can share with local health officials who determine potential health risks."

Fire conditions throughout the region are the worst in decades, and fires are expected to burn throughout the area for at least another six weeks.

In the past few weeks, smoke from wildfires has impacted metro Atlanta, with reduced visibility at Hartsfield International Airport, as well as the towns of Athens and Columbus, which are more than 250 miles from fires burning in southern part of the State. Roads and driving conditions have also been affected, with transportation officials reducing speed limits on major highways into Florida due to visibility concerns. Several interstates have been closed at various times during the past month, including Interstate 10, Interstate 95, and Interstate 75.

Source: Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service

Explore further: Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smoke from Canada Observed in Europe

Jul 12, 2013

This summer, Canada is experiencing unusually extensive wildfires. This week alone, 341 new forest fires have consumed a total area of 616,000 hectares. The smoke clouds produced by the fires in Canada have ...

Landslide sensors may save lives worldwide

Oct 25, 2013

Using technology found in cell phones, inexpensive sensors being tested at Monte Sano State Park might one day soon save lives by giving advance warning of deadly landslides in at-risk areas around the world.

NASA image: Rim Fire Update Aug. 26, 2013

Aug 26, 2013

The Rim Fire in northeastern California continues to burn on the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and the Bureau of Land Management and State responsibility land. This fire began on August ...

NASA images: Oregon burning

Aug 07, 2013

On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Persistently dry weather since the beginning of 2013 had primed forests to burn, ...

Recommended for you

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Apr 18, 2014

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...