DHEC meteorologist discusses path of smoke as Canadian wildfires continue
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to engulf the East Coast on Wednesday, leaving many places like New York City in a thick orange haze.
On Thursday, the smoke continues to move farther south, covering Washington, D.C. and other cities.
Meteorologist Andrew Kingston with DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality says while a precautionary alert was issued yesterday for the northern half of South Carolina, the Midlands shouldn’t have any problems going forward on the ground level because of a slight cold front that moved through last night.
“I’m not gonna say it won’t happen again, it’s all gonna depend on the long term wind patterns, and the long range wind patterns. We could easily see other effects if these fires continue over the next several weeks. But, for the near future, we shouldn’t have any problems going forwards here at the ground level. Like I said, most of it should stay higher up in the atmosphere so we won’t have higher concentrations at ground level,” Kingston says.
With officials reporting over 400 fires still burning across Canada, Kingston says if smoke were to reach us here in the Midlands, residents should consider staying inside, especially those who are sensitive to particulates or who have respiratory issues.
“The easiest thing to do is stay in doors because most central heating and ventilation systems and air conditioners are running on a closed system so they recirculate the air inside the house and they don’t pull in the outside air which contains all the smoke. So that’s the easiest thing to do,” says Kingston.
And breaking out your masks from the pandemic, Kingston says, may not offer much help.
“A regular mask like we’ve seen from Covid, is not going to have much of an effect, because the particles are so small they can get around the mask and get in it even,” says Kingston.
But, he predicts things will clear out even more for the Midlands over the weekend.
“You may get a whiff of smoke smell here and there, but once we get that larger frontal system move through over the weekend, it’s gonna help wash out most of the smoke and pollutants related to it,” Kingston says.