Monitoring air quality amid Canadian wildfires

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:58 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Wild fires are ravaging through parts of Canada and the impact of those fires is being seen in skies around the tri-state region.

“Smoke is travelling down the east coast and into West Virginia. It has increased the fine particulate matter in the ozone and in the atmosphere,” said Terry Fletcher of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Fletcher says the WVDEP is monitoring the air quality index in cities throughout the state of West Virginia. On Friday, cities and villages in the tri-state had an AQI of “moderate” and Fletcher says they anticipate improvement over the weekend.

“We’re expecting, from reports we’ve seen of weather forecasters and meteorologists, that as the weekend progresses, things should start to clear out and get back to normal,” said Fletcher.

Local fire crews often have to put out forest and brush fires. Captain Jeffrey Joseph of the Ironton Fire Department says those incidents usually occur between September and May.

“Everything now is so green that, unless we get into a full blown drought, you probably won’t see anything more than a nuisance fire,” said Captain Joseph.

He still encourages people to take precautions to try and prevent fires from igniting and spreading outdoors. He says most of the local fires his station deals with are caused by careless action.

“Burning trash, burning agricultural waste and things like that and not having a good fire ring around it or they’re burning it when it’s too windy. As we all know in this area, everything is up hill and fire goes up hill,” said Captain Joseph.