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Air quality reaches “Code Orange” in Adams

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Adams County has been in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Code Orange” over the past two days. The categorization means the air in the region is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and that susceptible people should take preventative measures. According to guidelines, “active children and adults, and people with lung disease such as asthma, are advised to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.”

The problem is caused by particulate matter in the air. These tiny particles are from industry emissions, vehicular traffic, and fires.

Some of the particulate matter may have come from a 175-acre proscribed burn in Michaux State forest north of Route 30 to the west of Adams that was conducted yesterday.

“The proscribed burn was for fuel mitigation but also to regenerate more desirable species,” said PA Dept. of Conservation and National Resources Proscribed Fire Specialist Todd Brininger.

“The Southern Appalachians are really dry right now,” said Brininger. “They’re having control issues with fires.”

Maps at https://www.airnow.gov/ show fires across Virginia and West Virginia including in Shenandoah National Park and George Washington Nation Forest.

But Brininger said he did not think our air was currently affected by these fires.

With rain expected tonight, the AQI is expected to return to healthier levels tomorrow.

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