CENTRAL VIRGINIA, Va. (WFXR) — The Matts Creek wildfire continues to rage through the Jefferson Nationa Forest, resulting in smoke settling along several communities in central Virginia.

The U.S. Forest Service reports light winds have pushed the smoke in communities between the Natuaral Bridge and surrounding areas. Due to air quality conditions, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) issued a health alert on Nov. 19 for:

  • Bedford County
  • Amherst County
  • Appomattox County
  • Campbell County
  • Charlotte County
  • City of Lynchburg
  • Rockbridge County

The alert will remain in effect until midnight.

In the meantime, health officials are encouraging children, and older adults to limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities until conditions improve. The department says people who are sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung diseases including asthma should avoid outdoor activities.

The VDEQ is advising residents to take more breaks, and people with asthma should follow their asthma action place and keep quick-relief medicine nearby.

“If you can see/smell smoke near the ground, consider Code Orange or worse conditions and take the necessary precaution, especially if you have existing heart or lung ailments including asthma,” said the National Weather Service.