FIRST ALERT: 2 Lowcountry counties under air quality alert for 2nd day

The state health department is warning people with respiratory illnesses to stay inside in parts of the Lowcountry because of smoke and dust from wildfires.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:55 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:12 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Two Lowcountry counties remain under an air quality alert along with much of the northern part of the state and North Carolina for the second day in a row Thursday.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a Code Orange Ozone Action Day for the Pee Dee region of the state that includes Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties.

An Ozone Action Day means atmospheric conditions will likely produce “unhealthy concentrations of ground-level ozone air pollution.” People with respiratory health issues should limit their time outdoors in certain parts of the Lowcountry, DHEC says.

The alert remains in effect through midnight Friday morning.

A series of wildfires burning in eastern and central Canada was blamed for a smoky haze seen over the Lowcountry Wednesday morning. DHEC said smoke with dust and ash particles leads to conditions that can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and can also aggravate or exacerbate chronic heart and lung diseases.

“Health and visibility impacts from the smoke could be experienced in all regions of the state,” DHEC’s website states. “The most significant effects should occur Wednesday night and Thursday, with impacts lingering into at least Thursday night.”

DHEC says besides limiting the time they spend outdoors, people should take measures to prevent dust and smoke from getting inside. That would include keeping windows and doors closed.

If you operate an air conditioner or central heating unit, you should keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.