Tennessee and North Carolina receiving the worst of the smoke on Saturday

wildfire smoke

 Above: Smoke from wildfires drifts into Tennessee, North Carolina, and northern Georgia, November 12, 2016. NASA, with notations by Wildfire Today.

As the siege of wildfires continues in the southeast United States the smoke from the blazes continues to impact residents in the area. As the wind direction changes from day to day different populations are affected. Most of the smoke Saturday was blowing to the west and southwest.

We did some quick mapping and found that on Saturday approximately 4.5 million residents were experiencing moderate to heavy smoke in northern Georgia, northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Almost the entire state of Alabama was affected by lesser concentrations.

map wildfires tennessee georgia
Map of currently active wildfires, November 11, 2016.

active wildfires south
A list of 20 of the active wildfires in the South, November 12, 2016. NICC. The first two letters under “Unit” designate the state; “Chge” is the change in acreage over the previous report; “%” is percent contained; “Ctn/Comp”, Ctn is aggressive suppression of the fire, while Comp is less than aggressive suppression; “Est” is estimated containment date.

For the latest articles at Wildfire Today about wildfire smoke check out the articles tagged “smoke”.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

16 thoughts on “Tennessee and North Carolina receiving the worst of the smoke on Saturday”

  1. Hello, Mr. Gibbert,
    I am a reporter working the Sunday shift here at the Knoxville News Sentinel. I’m working on a story for folks who need to drive on the highways and roads running through the areas where smoke has hit uncomfortable levels. My eyes were fairly irritated and my throat was burning just driving through the smoke on I-75 between Chattanooga and Knoxville. I would love to get some quotes from you given your expertise. So many people from other states have emailed wondering how they can assess whether an area is too smoky to drive through comfortably. Any advice? And if they can’t delay the trip, should they bring extra water, wear a face mask, eye wash etc? Thanks very much for your time.

    1. Lynda-

      First, as for SAFELY driving through smoke, most of the time (but unfortunately not always) local authorities close a road if the visibility is severely compromised. But if you do notice a degradation of visibility, slow down.

      Regarding the physical COMFORT of being in a smoky environment, people have different levels of tolerance for breathing smoke. Some are not bothered by it very much but others with underlying physical conditions can have severe discomfort — or worse. For anyone in the latter category I suggest they check the EPA’s AirNow web site (unless the new administration closes the EPA) which ranks the air quality from Good to Hazardous. You can click on the national map to zoom into an area, and then more detailed information appears.

      Below is an example of a zoomed-in page at AirNow for November 13, 2016.
      AirNow November 13, 2016

      Bill Gabbert

    1. In Wears Valley you can’t see any of the mountains . Has gotten worse as the day went on . No breeze to move it out !

      1. Monday morning, Nov. 14, Wears Valley still has the mountains all but obscured. Visibility on the ground is about 1/3 mile, the smell of smoke is in the air.

  2. Smoke was bad around noon today as I drove from Murfreesboro to Smithville. Short Mountain was barely visible off in the distant.

  3. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Pigeon Forge get this smoky…even when a fire burns on Bluff Mountain it usually doesn’t get this bad. Today from my house it looks like we are sitting in a smoke filled bowl.

  4. Smoky since Saturday here in Lafayette,Ga. I have breathing issues have been staying indoors. Smells like someone is burning leaves, wood, etc, outside.

  5. From Johnsoncity tn to chuckey tn there’s a lot of smoke. It’s very noticeable and makes my eyes burn.

  6. Since The Florida Forestry has come to Soddy Daisy Tennessee, this afternoon is the clearest it has been at my home for a week now. Thank you all for all your hard work. Knowing that my home is not in danger any longer I can possibly get some sleep. I hope you all get to rest soon too.

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