Air quality drops to unhealthy levels due to Texas wildfire smoke

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Friday, March 18, 2022
This is why it smells like smoke across the city
Seeing and smelling smoke? Smoke from wildfires across parts of Texas is being blown into our area. Here's the explanation from meteorologist Kevin Roth.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Update: The air quality has dropped to unhealthy levels due to the smoke from the wildfires. That's according to this government fire and smoke map, which shows levels in the red in and around the Houston area. You can view conditions at any time on the map.

The Houston Office of Emergency Management said that if you have respiratory issues, you should consider staying indoors and wearing a mask if you go outside.


Wildfires in central and northwest Texas are causing Houstonians to wake up to the sight and smell of smoke all across the city.

You might smell and see smoke as you head outside Friday morning.

As a cold front moved through and wind shifted out of the northwest, smoke from wildfires across the state was brought into southeast Texas.

Low humidity and gusty winds fueled multiple wildfires Friday in West Texas, burning homes and other structures and prompting evacuations of small communities.

Several wildfires merged to form what fire officials call a "complex" that was burning near Eastland, about 120 miles west of Dallas.

As of Friday morning, the fires had burned about 62.5 square miles, according to Texas A&M Forest Service. It was only 2% contained and fires were burning in thick brush and grass fields.

Other smaller fires were burning throughout other areas of Texas, and Thursday's low humidity and high winds created an ideal scenario for the blazes to quickly grow out of control. Texas A&M Forest Service had warned of a wildfire outbreak this week because of the forecast.

There were no reports of injuries.

A nursing home in Rising Star was evacuated and residents were taken to a community center, Eastland County Today reported.

In the small town of Ranger - about 10 miles northeast of Eastland - a church and several downtown buildings burned Thursday, Dallas TV station WFAA reported. The fire, which was fueled by high winds, may have started from a barbecue pit, Ranger Fire Department Chief Darrell Fox said.

"We had everything ready throughout the county," Fox said. "But when we have the winds like there was ... and the humidity down to nothing, this is what you're going to get."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.