AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – There were some hazy skies in the Augusta area on Thursday due to wildfires in Canada.
The National Weather Service has placed some southeast regions, including northern and central Georgia, on an air quality alert.
With Augusta currently having a moderate air quality index of 73, experts we spoke to said there hasn’t been much of an impact, but it’s best to be prepared.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality index ranges from 0 to more than 300, with levels 50 and below being the healthiest. Levels in parts of New York City and Canada have reached all the way to 400.
“That’s that hazy, smoky conditions because that high pressure is dragging down that smoke from those wildfires,” said Tim Miller, the Chief Meteorologist at WJBF NewsChannel 6. “And I would suspect, those wildfires are pretty intense right now up in Canada in places like Ontario, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, but I would say certainly over the next couple of days we’ll still be dealing with this.”
Miller said climate change could have something to do with the intensity of these fires.
“Climate change I think enhances perhaps some of the dynamics that help wildfires, but certainly isn’t causing more wildfires,” he said.
As the smoke continues to move south, experts we spoke to have some suggestions on how to stay safe.
They also recommend keeping an inhaler handy, especially if you have a respiratory illness.
“Make sure that you’re not out for long periods of time doing outdoor activities, you might even consider staying indoors if it was higher, say greater than one hundred, but right now we’re very lucky that we don’t have that impact directly to our area,” said Jennifer Anderson, the Director of Respiratory Care at AU Health.
According to the National Weather Service, the smoke and haze over the northeast could continue for the next few days. It is expected to impact air travel in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte.
We checked at Augusta Regional Airport, and right now everything is on schedule.