Members of certain groups in Columbus and the surrounding areas may want to limit outdoor exposure today due to the air quality.
The air quality index for Columbus is recorded at 109, or “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” as of 10 a.m. EST, according to AirNow, a partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control and tribal, state and local air quality agencies. The level, marked orange on the AQI map, ranges from 101-150.
The elevated AQI expands past several nearby cities, including Auburn, LaGrange and Eufaula.
Tiger Communications (Auburn, Ala.) meteorologist and former WLTZ meteorologist Dana Barker told the Ledger-Enquirer that the air quality index is elevated due to stagnant air, plus “a lot of controlled burns throughout the area.”
“Basically the air is ‘stale’ because there hasn’t been a major weather system to overturn the air mass,” Barker said.
There are also some small fires around Georgia that contribute: The Georgia Forestry Division shows recent fires in Stewart County (0.07 acres), Webster County (0.01 acres), and two in Taylor County (0.01 acres and 2.6 acres).
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens are advised to take steps to reduce exposure:
Choose less strenuous activities, like walking instead of running.
Shorten the amount of time you’re active outdoors.
Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
AirNow reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for individuals.