St. Mary’s County, Maryland – Residents of St. Mary’s County are experiencing impacts on air quality due to the ongoing wildfires in neighboring Virginia. The St. Mary’s County Government Department of Emergency Services (SMCG) has issued an advisory, alerting locals about the potential consequences of the smoke carried by the wind from Virginia.
The wildfire, known as the Matts Creek fire, has engulfed approximately 2,750 acres of national forest land in Virginia. While it has not posed an immediate threat to homes or businesses, its effects are far-reaching, with smoke clouds covering Central Virginia. This has led to the cancellation of several school sessions in the region due to concerns about air quality.
As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service reported that only 2 percent contained the fire. The lack of containment has prompted the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to issue a Code Red air-quality alert for Amherst, Nelson, and Bedford counties. This alert indicates a severe level of air pollution that could affect health, particularly for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions.
St. Mary’s County, Maryland’s residents have been advised to be vigilant and report any local fires. The presence of smoke or its smell, which may be mistaken for a local incident, should be reported immediately by calling 9-1-1. This caution is part of the broader emergency preparedness advisory by the SMCG, emphasizing the importance of being prepared before, during, and after an emergency.
The SMCG has also provided resources for residents to stay informed and prepare for such emergencies. They recommend visiting the website stmaryscountymd.gov/em for more information on emergency preparedness. Additionally, residents can monitor the extent of the impacted areas by visiting fire.airnow.gov, which provides a detailed map of the affected regions.
The ongoing wildfire situation highlights the interconnectedness of environmental events, where a fire in one region can significantly impact the air quality of neighboring areas. As efforts continue to contain the Matts Creek fire, authorities in both Virginia and Maryland are working collaboratively to mitigate the effects and keep the public informed and safe.
St. Mary’s County residents are urged to follow the guidance issued by local authorities and stay updated on the situation. The emphasis is on safety and preparedness, with the SMCG playing a pivotal role in coordinating response efforts and disseminating critical information to the public. The situation remains dynamic, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.