June 16, 2008

Heavy Smoke From N.C. Fire to Affect Visibility, Air Quality

By Kristin Davis, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

Jun. 16--The North Carolina wildfire, confined largely to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, did not grow Sunday, but smoke was expected to cause problems throughout the northeastern part of North Carolina on this morning.

Another fire, in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, could send smoke across South Hampton Roads on Monday morning, said Mike Montefusco, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

Because of heavy smoke, Chesapeake police planned to monitor the U.S. 17 corridor throughout the night and urged drivers to slow down and be extra cautious, the city said in a statement. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a Code Orange alert for Hampton Roads today.

In North Carolina, air quality officials again issued the most severe air pollution rating there is Sunday, warning children, the elderly, and people with heart and respiratory conditions to avoid all outdoor physical activity.

Air quality was expected to be equally dire today north of the Pamlico River and east of the Chowan River, which includes Elizabeth City, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a news release.

That wildfire, which started June 1 with a lightning strike, remained at 41,060 acres and was 40 percent contained Sunday. The cost to fight the fire passed $3.8 million.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

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