The air quality forecast on Wednesday is unhealthy for East Tennessee, including the Knoxville area, as forest fires continue to burn in the Southeast, including in East Tennessee.
The air quality conditions in the Knoxville area at about noon Wednesday were moderate, according to AirNow.gov.
The National Weather Service in Morristown said the unhealthy air quality conditions will continue across must of the area into today. People with lung disease such as asthma and children and older adults should avoid prolonged outdoor exposure to the smoke, the Weather Service said.
“Everyone should limit prolonged outdoor exertion,” the NWS said.
The largest active fire near Oak Ridge on Wednesday was a 2,400-acre wildfire on White Oak Circle in Morgan County. That fire appears to be northwest of Harriman and Oakdale. It started Friday, November 11, and arson is listed as the cause.
Six fires in north Anderson County have burned through more than 4,000 acres of mountain forests. Five of those are listed as arsons. (See this previous story for more information.)
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday issued a proclamation declaring a regional ban on burning in 51 counties in response to the ongoing drought and destructive wildfires throughout Middle and East Tennessee.
All eastern Tennessee counties are now under the burn ban. The counties include Anderson, Campbell, Loudon, Knox, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Union. Residents in counties covered by the regional ban are not permitted to conduct any open-air burning. The ban includes campfires and burning of brush, vegetation, household waste, or construction debris. The ban will remain in effect until December 15.
On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry was fighting 67 wildfires across nearly 16,000 acres in the Cumberland and East Tennessee districts.
On Tuesday, 100 firefighters from the West Coast arrived in Knoxville, where they will receive their assignments and mobilize to several Southern states to battle active wildfires caused by an ongoing drought.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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