Wildfire haze remains around Keysville, but storms could help

Published 6:33 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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Even though the sun was out Thursday, if you looked outside in Keysville, things seemed a bit more hazy. And that’s not going to improve today. The wildfire haze created in Canada is still around, causing health problems for some residents. The good news is that it’ll be going away later this weekend, the National Weather Service says. The bad news is it may take another one of the severe thunderstorms like we had earlier this week to do it. 

“The overall thought is that we’ll begin to see it slowly disperse over the weekend,” said Ben Gruver. He works as a meteorologist with the Wakefield station of the National Weather Service. Wakefield’s coverage area includes Charlotte, Cumberland, Buckingham, Prince Edward and the other surrounding counties. “It will be lingering today (Friday) but we will see improvements on Saturday.” 

To be clear, Gruver doesn’t mean everything will be crystal clear on Saturday. 

“The air will still be hazy,” he said, “but not as bad.”  

Now the haze causes problems. The thicker it gets, the worse the air quality becomes. As of 6 a.m. Friday, Charlotte Court House’s air quality stood at 106. That means it’s unhealthy for senior citizens or residents with health conditions to be outside. Right now, it looks like that air quality could get worse as the day progresses, reaching up to 120 possibly around lunchtime. 

The only way to fix this is through a front coming in, driving more of the smoke out. But it’s another good news/bad news situation. Yes, Gruver said, a front expected to move in Saturday could help with that. The bad part is that as of now, that front has the potential to create another round of severe thunderstorms. 

When will wildfire haze leave?

This is all a result of wildfires burning out of control in Canada. Clouds of smoke from the fires have traveled south, causing problems at different points for multiple states. The biggest question has been ‘are they contained’ and the answer is no. At least, not completely.

As of 6 a.m. Friday morning, there were 437 active fires across Canada. Out of that number, 235 were still out of control, based on data given by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center. That’s down from 248 at this time three weeks ago. 

The good news is that the fires in the western part of Canada are now under control. But new ones keep popping up in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

However, don’t get too excited, the Wakefield folks caution. Until all of the fires are extinguished, any reprieve could be temporary .