Unhealthy Air Quality as Eastern States Fight Fires
For weeks, dozens of wildfires have plagued Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia. Authorities estimate at least 80,000 acres have been burned in the fires, although it is still unclear how some of them started.
Now, several states including Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia have declared states of emergency. In many areas, residents are being evacuated from their hometowns as a result of the raging fires and poor air quality.
In Tennessee alone, more than 200 people have been hospitalized for breathing difficulties. The dry weather, high winds and continuing drought help to fuel the fires and the route the smoke takes, leaving many towns with a discolored sky of smoke.
In response to the exceptionally dry conditions in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and southern Virginia, the Appalachian Trail Conservatory and National Park Service placed fire restrictions along the southern portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Some school systems, like Greenville County in South Carolina and Haywood County in North Carolina, have limited outdoor physical activity. Students with respiratory conditions and others who wish to remain indoors during recess are allowed to do so while student athletes who usually practice outdoors are asked to remain inside.