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WVU in the News: Wildfire haze, health risk it brings, expected to stick around

As of Wednesday, there were 78 large wildfires actively burning in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Natural Resources Canada shows more than 600 active fires as of July 14.

West Virginians and others living in the mid-Atlantic region who happen to go outside might have noticed — either by the smoky smell or the greyish haze blanketing the sky.

That’s because there is an upper flow pattern bringing smoke and its pollutants to the area, according to meteorologist Pat Herald of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh.

At one point Wednesday, the air quality index (AQI) reached 101 or “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” in Morgantown.

“It’s not good,” said Michael McCawley, clinical associate professor with the department of occupational health and environmental health sciences at West Virginia University. “The AQI is kind of a rough figure about what the air is like and what the possibilities are for becoming ill due to breathing whatever is out there.”

Read full story from The Dominion Post.