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Smoke continues to create health hazard in Lexington County

Lexington County, SC – Choking smoke from brush fires that are still burning in portions of the South Carolina, North Carolina, and north Georgia mountains is making for some very unhealthy air quality again throughout our state.

Currently, Lexington County’s Fire Service has provided a crew of firefighters for mutual aid to assist with the Pinnacle Mountain fire in Pickens County. That is one of the fires that is creating the smoky conditions.

DHEC, or the State Department of Health and Environmental Control, has issued a code red alert for more than half of SC counties. The alert does cover Lexington County as well.

Currently, the code red alert now includes Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Union, and York counties in South Carolina.

The code red air quality alert will remain in effect for the remainder of today. The original alert was expanded after an orange alert was issued earlier in the week.

Air quality experts with DHEC say everyone should try to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors if at all possible. This is especially important for people with respiratory issues.

Smoke from the fires continued to blanket the state Thursday. Lexington County residents called fire dispatchers a number of times thinking that there were fires burning in their portion of the county.

DHEC staffers recommend that people with respiratory health issues like asthma or COPD limit time spent outdoors to avoid the smoke. You should also take measures to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. You can do this by keeping your home or businesses’ windows and doors closed. If you are operating your air conditioner or central heating unit, keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from coming inside.

Forecasters expect the smoke to be with us at least a few more days.

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Call Paul Kirby

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