Smoky conditions cause 'unhealthy' air quality

Published: Jun. 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2011 at 8:56 PM EDT
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Smoke rises over the Ravenel Bridge Wednesday evening.
Smoke rises over the Ravenel Bridge Wednesday evening.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Smoke from nearby wildfires is causing air quality issues across the Lowcountry.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that coastal residents should be aware of possible health effects as smoke lingers in the area. The air quality in the Charleston area is listed as "unhealthy."

Smoke from this fire has been noticeable in eastern and southern parts of the state. The smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. It has the ability to irritate the eyes and respiratory system, as well as worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

The smoke is from the Honey Prairie fire in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. The smoke is expected to continue to impact the area.

People with respiratory health issues should limit time spent outdoors. DHEC recommends staying inside to avoid the smoke. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. For more information, please visit DHEC's website.

Visibility has been off-and-on low since Saturday and the air quality will remain lower than normal until the smoke leaves the region, which may not be for awhile. Expect these conditions to continue periodically throughout the next few days.

The fires are roughly 200 miles away in extreme southern Georgia. Southwesterly winds are pushing the smoke all the way into the area.

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