May 9, 2017

Fires in the Southeast, and Smoke Blankets Florida

The majority of the Nation seemed to have enjoyed a day with relatively good air quality. There were a few areas affected by Ozone, and pollution, making air quality in sporadic sections moderate, but things seemed to remain steady in the good side of the spectrum. In the Southeast, however, things were not so great. The West Mims Wilfire continues to burn and has consumed at least 143,893 acres of land. There are over 711 personnel working hard to contain the fire, but up to now only 12% has been contained. The fire is creating large quantities of very dense smoke in the local area, but this smoke dissipates a little as it travels eastward. The smoke from this fire, as well as from many others, plus remnant smoke from the seasonal burns in Central America are blanketing the majority of Florida (NOAA HMS image, top left). Also seen in this image, are a multitude of smaller fires that are producing plumes of mostly light density smoke which are traveling east and north east. The large plume of smoke over southern Texas is remnant smoke, also from the ongoing agricultural burns in Latin America. The MODIS image on the top right, is a satellite picture showing the dense smoke being produced by the West Mims wildfires. The large blanket of smoke over Florida was detected by the MPL in Key Biscayne, Florida, near Miami (MPLNET Lidar plot, mid left). This image shows the smoke activity at just about 2km of altitude. All of this smoke affected the air quality in the region, however, most of the AQI seems to be in the moderate, code yellow, range for smoke (AirNow PM image, mid right). Nevertheless, the Ozone production in this area was elevated and aided by the higher temperatures and all the pollution from the smoke, putting the AQI for Ozone into the unhealthy, code orange, range in certain parts of Florida, while the rest remained moderate.

Posted by Julio Roman at May 9, 2017 11:32 PM
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