By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Betty Rivard grew up learning from her father, an air pollution regulator, how to read a scale called a Ringelmann chart, used for determining smoke density.
Two years after suffering two heart attacks, Rivard, 76, isn’t looking at the chart’s shades of gray. Instead, she’s checking a color-coded air quality index on her smartphone to learn how much pollution she’s inhaling on a hot August afternoon.
A month ago, Rivard said, she kept having to stop while walking to her home on Charleston’s East End from Appalachian Power Park in a cool breeze she thought ideal for the activity.
“I realized it had to have something to do with the air,” said Rivard, a retired social worker and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources planner.
A few days later, Rivard’s smartphone received a high-risk air quality warning alert stemming from increasingly intense wildfires scorching millions of acres in the western United States…
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