Residents throughout Florida and south Georgia woke up this morning wondering who was cooking this early in the morning only to find out later that the smoke odor is coming from particulate coming from a 35,000-acre fire burning near the Osceola National Forest the past four days
There have been multiple reports throughout Florida of breathing and eye problems due to the smoke. According to the National Weather Service a red-flag warning for wildfires is in effect for several Bay area counties through 8 p.m. today.
Residents throughout Florida and south Georgia woke up this morning wondering who was cooking this early in the morning only to find out later that the smoke odor is coming from particulate coming from a 35,000-acre fire burning near the Osceola National Forest the past four days. Strong north winds have pushed smoke from the fire south across the peninsula. Until this morning, the winds had been coming from the west and pushing the plume over Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean.
A red flag is issued when conditions are favorable for the spread of wildfires within 24 hours. Those conditions include low humidity and a lack of rain. The warning is for Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
In the United States, wildfires are listed as one of the primary sources of air pollution. A significant portion of land in this country is covered by forest consisting of diversified flora and fauna. Due to wild fires, these natural resources turn into hazardous materials and pollute the ambient air. This results into a great loss of life and wealth each year. While the emergency responders are working on-site to contain the fire, the effect is being realized hundreds of miles away.
Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director of EDLab stated “to prevent and minimize the impact of these smoke particulate one should limit outdoor activity and closely monitor the indoor air especially those who are immuno-compromised.”
The AHIA accredited laboratory, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) in Clearwater, FL has been monitoring the outdoor and indoor ambient particulate counts. The results reveal that the counts of black/ charred particulates more than 10 times higher than usual. The total concentration of airborne particles measuring 0.03 microns (inhalable) was greater than approximately 240,000 per liter where a typical day would be around 25,000 to 50,000 particles per liter.
Aerobiology sampling (spore trap analysis) of outdoor and indoor air revealed an enhanced number of black/charred particles, besides the usual aerobiota (pollen, mold, plant fibers, and other various particles that are organic and inorganic in nature). Indoor levels of black/charred particles were approximately 100 times greater than normal and outside air 10 to 15 times greater than normal.
The ambient temperature is 73-74 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is between 40-41%, which makes an ideal situation to sustain these conditions for some time. It is especially recommended to the susceptible persons to avoid outside trips or wear protective gear such as masks, etc to avoid the inhalation of these particles. Due to persistent weather conditions the odor will take a while to clear.
If you are concerned of the conditions surrounding your home/business or inside your home or office the Building Scientists at Pure Air Control Services provide environmental assessments to provide practical solutions to minimize the smoke particulate conditions. For the do-it-yourselfers a Black Particulate/SMOKE Screen Check among others is available at www.INDOORAIRTEST.com.
About Environmental Diagnostics laboratory (EDLab):
The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an AIHA accredited environmental lab # EMLAP 102795 offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses.
The company’s expanding client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA);US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; US Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station - King's Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services/EDLab the reliable industry leader in IAQ.
For more information on EDLab at Pure Air Services, Inc. please contact Dr Rajiv Sahay or Cy Garner at (800) 422-7873 x 303 or 404, or visit http://www.edlab.org/.