Smells like Tarheel spirit; NC smokes us

A fire that started with a June 1 lightning strike 300 miles away in eastern North Carolina's Great Dismal Swamp is now blowing smoke this way.

Currently Charlottesville's visibility is three miles, says Steve Rogoski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He's at Dulles International Airport and can see the smoke there, where the visibility is four to five miles. "Overnight, smoke may contribute to a little fog," he says. A cold front coming in tomorrow from the west should dissipate any remaining smoke.

Charlottesville government spokesperson Ric Barrick says the city has received "numerous" calls from citizens wondering what's burning. He recommends that those with respiratory illness limit their time outdoors.

"When we went on tour [at Monticello] this morning, they said it was smog," says Gene Buczynski, who's visiting this weekend from South Bend, Indiana. Buczynski hasn't noticed the scent of burning wood in the air–- and he says his nose is very good.

Others have caught whiffs of the burning forests, and the air quality in North Carolina is so bad that the state has declared a Code Red in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area, and a Code Orange for Fayetteville and, farther to the west, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, WAVY-TV reports.

The smell of smoke was so strong in the Norfolk area Wednesday that residents were calling fire departments, fearful of fires in their neighborhoods, the Virginian- Pilot reports.

4 comments

With all the smokers out there I didn't really notice any difference.

There are actually two fires:

One in Virginia, in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and the other in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in NC.

Both are contributing to smoky conditions in the region.

@sam - there was actually a 3rd fire in salem, and if the prevailing winds spun counter clockwise, then we'd smell that fire too. the fire in salem was close to 300 acres last i had heard (and both of the 'other fires' were much further than salem. just a point of clarification.

Tito: just a quick off topic question... from where'd you get your pen name? A very interesting choice. ;)