The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is issuing a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for the following cities and regions for Wednesday, November 23rd for:

  • Chattanooga
  • Knoxville / Great Smoky Mountains
  • Tri-Cities

Wildfire smoke continues to impact ground level monitors in East Tennessee. General flow in the region will become southerly tomorrow, drawing even more smoke into the valley from the larger fires in southwestern North Carolina. Smoke forecast models are predicting plumes to travel over the mountains and into the valley, impacting a widespread area from Chattanooga to the Tri-Cities area. A front will bring a small amount of precipitation to the region late tomorrow and a cleaner air mass should be in place for Thanksgiving day.

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases.

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that although the general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.