Chopper 5 Blog: Mulch fire and air alert

Published: Oct. 14, 2015 at 8:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2015 at 10:12 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - So, if you live in Shelby County, chances are you know about the heavy smoke and light smell of burning in the air.

Yesterday, a mulch fire broke out in the area of Summer Avenue and White Station Road; just beside the Malco Summer Avenue Drive-In.

We brought Chopper 5 over the fire for coverage during the 4, 5, and 6 p.m. news.

If you saw our news programs yesterday (and recaps during today's shows), you were able to see how much thick smoke was coming out of that massive mulch pile.

From my vantage point, I could see about four Memphis Fire trucks and around a dozen workers trying to control the blaze.

After about three hours, large flames were still present.

As a result of yesterday's fire, you may have noticed it looked hazy outside; you may have even smelled something burning in the air.

The fire resulted in, initially, a "code red" for air quality. It has since been downgraded to "code orange."

The air monitors at Shelby Farms determined that the air had reached unhealthy levels.

So what does this mean?

Well, if you're asthmatic like myself, it probably means that you need to bring your inhaler with you outside or in the car.  I live in the Cordova area; the smell of the fire and resulting smoke hit my neighborhood too.

If you are susceptible to breathing problems, take it easy for a while. In some cases of more sensitive breathing problems, you may need to stay out of the Shelby county, Crittenden county and Desoto county areas for the day.

If you've never experienced breathing problems in your lifetime, count yourself lucky and you can probably continue on with your day as usual.

The air quality warning is expected to expire at 12:30am Thursday morning. For some of us with occasional breathing problems, that may feel like a long time away.

But if you're like me with mild asthma, you should be okay if you stay indoors and take it easy.

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