Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Have you noticed a thick layer of smoke blanketing the Columbia area today? Many of you have, and you're asking us where it's coming from. Here's what we know.
The Columbia Fire Department confirms they are not working any fires, and they don't know of anything that would be causing the smoky conditions.
Fort Jackson is conducting a prescribed burn on its grounds today, between the Statue of Liberty and Screaming Eagle Road. We reached out to Fort Jackson to see if their burn was a larger area than normal. It's not. In fact, today's burn is actually a smaller one - 133 acres, as compared to more than 300 acres burned earlier this week.
Our own chief meteorologist Jim Gandy says there is nothing atmospherically that would explain the unusually heavy smoke, either. Gandy says winds are not particularly heavy, and nothing unusual is showing up on the satellite imagery.
As you might expect, today's heavy smoke is reflected in the the Air Quality Index (AQI). The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) AQI forecast for Thursday was 49, which falls in the green or "good" range. As of 4 p.m., the actual AQI was recorded at 71, which falls in the yellow or "moderate" range. According to SCDHEC, air quality in the moderate range is considered acceptable, although there may be a moderate health concern for a small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. On "yellow" days, unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
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