ATLANTA – AirNow, a subset of the EPA and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is reporting a red or unhealthy air quality index for the Atlanta area.
“Unhealthy” air is when everyone may begin to experience some “adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects,” according to AirNow.
Good air quality is considered 0-50, unhealthy is 151-200.
The Rough Ridge wildfire has engulfed 19,411 acres Monday.
More than 200 firefighters are working to extinguish the fire where 20 percent has been contained. Three crews, two helicopters, eight engines and two bulldozers have been implored to comb at the Cohutta Wildnerness area in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The Cohutta Wilderness is about 90 miles from metro Atlanta, where the skyline has been blanked in a smoky haze since last Wednesday.
The National Forest Service says, fires throughout northern Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina all have the potential to impair air quality and that conditions may change quickly, based on weather, wind direction and fire activity.
At this time, the entire Cohutta Wilderness area north and west of FS Road 64, and National Forest lands east of FS Road 16 and the Conasauga River are closed.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, another cold front is expected to hit the fire-engulfed area Friday. Northwest winds could reach about 15 mph on the ridges during the afternoon, with gusts up to 25 mph, heading into Friday night.
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