Dense wildfire smoke blamed for deadly I-10 crash outside New Orleans

This comes two weeks after super fog led to a massive pileup on Interstate 55 outside of New Orleans that involved more than 100 vehicles and killed seven people. Fog alerts were issued through Wednesday morning.

NEW ORLEANS – Crashes reported on Interstate 10 outside New Orleans early Tuesday morning were not the result of super fog, but instead caused by dense smoke in the area due to wildfires burning in the region.

At a news conference on Tuesday, officials said at least one person was killed and eight others were injured in the series of at least five crashes caused when wildfire smoke dropped visibility to near-zero between Irish Bayou and Michoud Boulevard.

According to the Department of Transportation, highway signs were activated warning drivers about the reduced visibility and urged them to reduce speeds on the roads.

I-10 had been closed as a result of the crashes for the majority of the day. However, eastbound lanes of the highway were reopened at Michoud Boulevard just before noon local time.

Smoke from Michoud Fire led to dangerous conditions

According to the FOX Forecast Center, smoke from the Michoud Fire became trapped under a temperature inversion, which created dramatically low visibility on I-10 Tuesday morning.

The Michoud Fire, which has been burning for nearly a month, has so far scorched about 200 acres.

Officials on Tuesday said there are seven water pumps in the area that are trying to extinguish the blaze, which is in a remote location with no hydrant access.

In addition, officials said the property in which the fire is burning is surrounded on three sides by canals, and there are fuel and natural gas pipelines in the vicinity.

However, officials said the situation is under control.

Dangerous conditions likely to return Wednesday morning

Drivers may find themselves in a similarly dangerous situation on Wednesday morning. The NWS said conditions then will be "almost identical" to Monday night, with smoke getting trapped again, and there may even be a better chance for fog to develop.

As a result, hazardous driving conditions could develop again along I-10 in Orleans Parish and Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish.

Fog alerts have been issues for areas throughout southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama and western Florida.

This deadly incident comes two weeks after super fog led to a massive pileup on Interstate 55 outside of New Orleans that involved 168 vehicles and killed seven people. The highway was closed for days while crews worked to remove crumpled vehicles. An inspection was conducted to determine the safety of the roadway after the crash and resulting fires.