Increasing Hazy Conditions from Wildfires Prompt Concern Tuesday Morning

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 27, 2023 at 1:15pm

Hazy sky conditions have increased this morning prompting concern across the county.

The National Weather Service has issued an air quality advisory for today and into Wednesday due to the hazy conditions caused by ongoing wildfires in Canada.

Jacksonville/Morgan County ESDA Director Phil McCarty says the current weather conditions have created the perfect storm for the smoke to roll in.

It’s just the perfect ingredients for the atmosphere to carry the smoke down from Canada. I’m not exactly sure where the fire is because it’s far enough away that it doesn’t impact us other than the air quality and it clearly is impacting our air quality today.

Concerns rose in the listening area over the course of the morning as conditions rapidly decreased in both air quality and visibility. McCarty says the changing conditions are a product of the wildfires to the north and not a local emergency of any kind.

I am not aware of anything that is ongoing in West Central Illinois, including Morgan County, as we speak that is on fire and we would like to keep it that way.”

West Central Illinois remains in moderate drought conditions currently after no measurable precipitation was recorded over the weekend. McCarty says the continued lack of rainfall means residents need to take precautions, especially heading into a holiday next week.

This is not a normal condition for us here. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen this level of drought so we need to encourage people to be careful when we’re coming into the fireworks season. You know, just the flip of a cigarette butt when you’re driving could create more smoke and more fire so we need to be very cautious about that right now.”

McCarty says he is not aware of any communities in the area that have enacted bans on burning just yet, however, if the rain forecast for this weekend does not materialize, increased precautions could be needed to avoid a major fire issue.