Drought, Wildfires Prompt Air Quality Alert

Posted at 6:56 AM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-14 19:51:25-05

Multiple wildfires across the southeast, along with drought conditions, have prompted an air quality alert for the Nashville area.

A Code Orange Health Advisory went into effect at midnight Monday and would continue until midnight Tuesday.

As a result of the advisory, Allergists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said children and adults with respiratory problems, such as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) should limit their time outdoors.

"They'll start coughing, wheezing, have shortness of breath, those type of symptoms," said Dr. Jonathan Hemler, a Pediatric Allergist.

Dr. Hemler added patients should continue to take prescribed medication to control symptoms.

The general public would likely not be affected.

Dr. Hemler said it is rare to have an air quality alert this time of year, and the alerts are more common in warmer months.

Multiple emergency agencies in Middle Tennessee have asked the public to not call about the smoke and smell. They assured everyone it was from the wildfires and that there was no immediate danger to our area.

The drought has kept firefighters busy working numerous brush fires across the state. According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, there were 74 active fires and more than 13,000 acres burned as of Sunday.