Canadian wildfire smoke arrives in South Ga. — but effects are minimal

The Canadian wildfire smoke is harder to notice here in South Georgia, but we are getting some of that same air that’s over major northeast cities.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:59 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Many of us have seen images of orange skies from major cities in the Northeast. Images coming out of New York City look like they are from some science fiction movie. Those are real images and they are caused by wildfire smoke.

Some of that air has come to South Georgia. The Canadian wildfire smoke has been harder to notice here in South Georgia.

“It’s milky and hazy looking. It’s not nearly as bad as in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic,” WALB News 10′s Meteorologist Chris Zelman said.

Zelman said the cause of the color is the larger-sized particulate matter in the sky. He said Thursday and Friday will probably be the worst of it for South Georgia. He says you can visually notice it more during sunrise and sunset because of the orange tint near the sun. The weather scenario is unique.

“I’ve never seen it come in from Canada. It’s just a pattern that is very unusual where it’s hot and dry across Canada, and it’s kind of cooler than average here,” Zelman said.

Skies in Albany on Thursday. The haze is somewhat visible.
Skies in Albany on Thursday. The haze is somewhat visible.(WALB)

He says since the smoke is so high in the air here, it shouldn’t have a huge impact on those sensitive to poor-quality air. He says the haze could limit overall cloud coverage and storm activity. It could help in one other area.

“There is one thing that not a lot of people know. You won’t sunburn as bad,” Zelman said.

Dr. Nilam Vaughan is an assistant professor at PCOM South Georgia. She said to look for:

“If your eyes start to burn/are irritated, you’re using your inhaler more, coughing and sneezing more, or have chest tightness/difficulty breathing,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan says even healthy people can have long-term impacts if haze gets really bad. Since we aren’t seeing very high levels, she says to take softer precautionary measures if ultra-sensitive.

“Go ahead and do your outdoor activities early in the day when the pollen count and pollution is generally lower. Use filters indoors, wear a mask, especially KN95,” Vaughan said.

She said to see your physician if conditions get very bad and to check up on sensitive family members.