Smoke Makes Living in Hampton Roads "Dismal"

For the last several weeks, there have been a couple large wildfires burning near the Virginia/North Carolina border in the Great Dismal Swamp thanks to a logging equipment incident, and much of the smoke has been drifting up to our Hampton Roads area. Depending on the wind direction, the smoke can get really bad: visibility has been severely hampered a few times on my way to work. There are worse things to have to deal with, but the smoke is making life a tad uncomfortable (especially for those with respiratory problems).

Fortunately, not many people live in the Dismal Swamp, so there hasn’t been much residential damage. The fire was fully contained last week, but high winds from recent thunderstorms actually spread the fire. It’s now 90 percent contained, and about two miles away from residential areas. It is predicted that the fires will continue to burn into August, until enough rain falls (3-4 inches in a couple days). Apparently one of the only things that will definitely put it out for good is a tropical storm. It’s pretty weird to look up the weather report every day and read “90 degrees; smoke.” Our friends the Wallins, who visited this weekend, commented that “it smells like there’s a perpetual barbecue happening in your neighborhood, except they aren’t cooking anything I would want to eat.”

Below are some pictures of the smoke in our area, plus a video of the actual fire area in the Great Dismal Swamp. Never thought I would be wishing for a tropical storm to hit…Wait, I’m not – I’d rather have second-hand wildfire smoke than storm damage and flooding. Though I’d probably get off work if we had a tropical storm…

Two pictures of smoke on my ODU campus (courtesy of jemanard at flickr):

Picture of the tallest building in Virginia shrouded by smoke (courtesy of Ken’s blog, source unknown):
Actual wildfire footage:

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