Tennessee issues air quality alert as wildfires belch smoke

Northbound traffic on U.S. Highway 27 passes the forest fire at Flipper Bend near the North Chickamauga Creek in Soddy-Daisy late Monday. Crews from Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division and U.S. Forestry Service personnel from the Bureau of Land Management were on scene as two Air National Guard BlackHawk helicopters sporadically dumped water on the expanding blaze.

Local wildfires

1. Flipper Bend 2. Smith Mountain, Sequatchie County 3. Walden Farms Road, Sequatchie County 4. Prentice Cooper National Forest 5. Lookout Mountain, Dade County 6. Rocky Face Mountain, near Dalton 7. Rough Ridge, Fannin County of Cohutta Wilderness 8. Cherokee National Forest, Polk County

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued an air quality alert across east Tennessee due to ongoing wildfires.

Ground level ozone concentrations in the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards, according to the alert.

The alert is scheduled to last until 4 p.m. Wednesday. It covers the Chattanooga, Knoxville and Great Smoky Mountain areas.

"Everyone may experience health effects," the alert reads. "Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects."

Smoke crept into Chattanooga area Monday morning, prompting the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau to encourage residents to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed during the morning.

A Bureau of Land Management firefighting crew from Nevada arrived in the area Monday to assist with combating a fire in the Flippers bend area of Walden's Ridge.

Other fires are burning on Lookout Mountain in Georgia, on Rocky Face Mountain near Dalton, Ga., and in the Chattahoochee National Forest east of Dalton.

Crews are also working fires in Sequatchie and Marion counties, west of Chattanooga, and on continued fires in the Cherokee National Forest in Polk County.