Smoke from South Georgia wildfires moves over Columbus area

Smoke and haze from the South Georgia wildfires moved into the Columbus area and parts of Alabama early Tuesday morning.

Laura Griffith, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Atlanta, said winds from the south moved the smoke into Central and North Georgia. Griffith said she has even heard reports of smoke from residents as far as Dahlonega, Ga.

"We were expecting a lot of this to clear up this morning, but unfortunately we haven't had the winds," Griffith said.

She said the forecast the next two days shows calm-to-light winds, which would help the smoke dissipate.

Harold Baker, an air traffic controller at the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, said he can see the haze over Columbus but visibility has not been a problem. Baker said current visibility is about 7 miles, standard for hot and hazy days in the summer.

Cherrise Boone, public relations information specialist with the Environmental Protection Division's air branch, said today started out as an "orange" day, meaning the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups like the elderly, children and those with respiratory problems.

"On a day like today, pretty much nobody needs to be outside," Boone said.

For people who must go outside today, Boone said they should be careful.

"Don't exert yourself during the heat of the day," Boone said. "We want people to take precautions."