FIRST ALERT: Wildfire smoke to create hazy skies, lower air quality; DHEC issues alert

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Smoke from large wildfires in the western United States will overspread much of the Carolinas on Thursday.

Numerous large wildfires continue across the drought-stricken western United States. Smoke from these large wildfires is being picked up by jet stream and carried across the country and into the Carolinas. The result of this smoke will be hazy skies, more vibrant sunsets and sunrises and poor air quality for some areas.

Smoke from western wildfires arrives Thursday.
Smoke from western wildfires arrives Thursday.(WMBF)

The core of the smoke and hazy conditions will drop from North Carolina on Wednesday and into much of South Carolina on Thursday. The smoke will likely remain through Friday.

Much of North Carolina has poor air quality warnings in effect through Thursday where the smoke and haze will be thickest. In these areas, the air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Poor air quality possible on Thursday.
Poor air quality possible on Thursday.(WMBF)

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a Wildfire Smoke Alert on Wednesday, citing possible health effects related to the smoke.

“Residents of South Carolina should be aware of possible health effects related to smoke from wildfires that originated from fires burning across parts of central and western Canada and the western United States,” the agency said in a statement. “Smoke from these fires, which has drifted into the northern part of our state, can irritate the eyes and respiratory system as well as aggravate or exacerbate chronic heart and lung diseases.”

DHEC says multiple areas could be affected, but the most significant impacts could be seen along and north of a line from Myrtle Beach to Columbia to Abbeville. The most significant impacts should be felt through Wednesday night and Thursday, possibly lasting into Friday.

The agency also recommends those with respiratory health issues to limit time spent outdoors and keep windows and doors closed. For those with air conditioners, it’s advised to keep the fresh-air intake closed and to make sure filters are clean to prevent smoke from getting inside.

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