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Marsh fire smoke over New Orleans

12 September 2011 13:47

Smoke rises from a marsh fire in New Orleans

Smoke rises from a marsh fire in New Orleans

Britons with asthma travelling to eastern New Orleans have been warned about the effects of smoke from a marsh fire following air quality concerns.

The areas is being closely monitored by Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which has declared an "air quality precaution" to handle the situation.

The smoke alert is now covering towns 100 miles from New Orleans as the levels of particulate matter 2.5 - particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter - have significantly increased.

This highlights the need for adequate medical travel insurance that covers expenses for pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma while travelling to New Orleans.

DEQ officials have urged people to cancel outdoor activities because of smoke which has spread across the area increasing possible health issues.

Rodney Mallett, from DEQ said: "Air monitors in the New Orleans area have had readings of particulate matter ranging from normal to unhealthy, according to the Air Quality Index scale. These readings vary from location to location because of wind direction."

Mr Mallett said the pollution from smoke is at "orange level", which is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly and people suffering from respiratory diseases.

He also said smoke that shrouded the city on Monday was so bad they had to issue a "red level" alert, which is considered unhealthy for everyone.