First Responders in Southern Maryland Respond to Multiple Calls of Smoke Believed to be Caused by Virginia Wildfires

November 16, 2023

Firefighters in St. Mary’s County have responded to multiple smoke investigations and even a smoke in a building incident due to smoke that is believed to be coming from the wildfires burning over the mountains of northern Virginia.

The wildfires have brought smoke into the valleys of western Maryland Thursday Overnight and early morning surface inversions have trapped this smoke leading to elevated fine particulate concentrations. Mixing heights are expected to increase during the late morning and early afternoon hours as temperatures rise, aiding in smoke dispersion. High Moderate fine particulate levels are expected in this area of smoke for a 24-hour average.

The Quaker Run Fire in the Shenandoah National Park is currently listed as burning over 3,900 acres with only 83% of the fire being contained, firefighters are also working to contain the Matts Creek Fire, and Steep Valley Fire which are both over 2,200 acres with the Matts Creek fire growing intensely with it being only 2% contained and over 2,750 acres.

Elsewhere in the state, some haze may be visible in the skies linked to the smoke but is not expected to have a significant impact on air quality, resulting in threshold Good to low Moderate conditions.

Southerly flow overnight Thursday into Friday will likely bring another wave of wildfire smoke to the same area. USG conditions are certainly possible as the situation will need to be monitored closely.

Highest hourly concentrations will be during the early morning hours when mixing heights are their lowest. Winds will be on the increase turning northwesterly during the afternoon Saturday as clean, dry Canadian air filters into the region. Fine particulate levels are expected to drop back comfortably into the Good AQI range for the weekend.