Monday, November 14, 2016

Southeast U.S. Literally Stinks. Not A Slam On Them, Just The Forest Fires

Smoke from wildfires fills the sky over northern
Georgia last week, in this view from a satellite. 
The intensifying drought in the Southeast slogs on, and now the forests are burning, causing air pollution levels to soar in many cities in the region.

Atlanta has been smelling like smoke off and on for days.

One of my customers I had on the phone yesterday from western North Carolina says she's been choking on the smoke for weeks now. She can't even go outside and work in her garden.

There are no fewer than 30 wildfires burning in the Southeast late last week, says the Weather Channel.

There have been some mandatory evacuations in parts of western North Carolina because of the fires, and seven firefighters were trapped by a wildfire in Tennessee. They were later rescued, uninjured, thank goodness.

Evacuations have been reported in northern Georgia, too.

Last week, Atlanta, Georgia was choked in smoke, as winds from the north and northeast brought smoke from the wildfires into the city. People said that it was hard to walk outdoors in the smoggy air.

Unfortunately, many of the wildfires were started by arsonists. In Kentucky, 150 of 210 fires were set by arsonists, the Weather Channel says.

The season is complicating fire fighting efforts. Falling autumn leaves are dropping down on containment lines, creating combustable "bridges" in which the fires can cross those containment lines. That makes it so much harder to put out the fires.

The wildfires have broken out amid a deep and worsening drought in the Southeast. Birmingham, Alabama, for example, is closing in on 60 consecutive days without measureable rainfall, the longest such period on record.

The weather forecast for the region is bleak. Little or no rain is expected in the Southeast for at least a week or more.

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