A controlled burn at the Francis Marion National Forest and two other fires in Berkeley County could have been the sources of smoke that settled in the Charleston area this morning, an occurrence that Tropical Storm Alberto likely had a hand in.
Mark Ruppel, spokesman for the Charleston Fire Department, said that the agency has received several calls about the smelly haze, but that U.S. Forest Service officials have not yet confirmed that the national forest is the origin. No details about that blaze were immediately available.
Scott Hawkins, a spokesman for the S.C. Forestry Commission, said 12-acre and a 53-acre controlled burns Sunday at Joint Air Base Charleston facilities could have been to blame.
A 25-acre brush fire between Andrews and Georgetown is the only active wildfire being handled by the S.C. Forestry Commission. The blaze was sparked by lightning but has been contained.
Hawkins said the wind patterns caused by Tropical Storm Alberto, which is more than 160 miles from Charleston, would typically bring in smoke from Berkeley, Georgetown or Horry counties.
The National Weather Service office in Charleston said the smoke is dispersed and that no large plumes appeared on radar today. It was not significantly affecting travel.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or [/URL]