Smoke from NM fire being pushed into the Panhandle

Smoke from NM fire being pushed into the Panhandle

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The massive Whitewater-Baldy wildfire continues to burn. It's the largest fire in New Mexico state history, and its' smoke is impacting the Texas panhandle.

A haze has settled over Amarillo, and it's bringing the occasional smell of smoke, and slightly lower visibility.

Brent Auvermann with Texas AgriLife says, "We have seen a slight increase in concentrations of particles and you can smell them. Our noses are pretty sensitive, so we normally can pick up compounds in the air, long before they reach a concentration that would be hazardous to us."

But in other areas, that's a different story.

Auvermann explains, "There are a couple of pockets to the west around Adrian and Hereford, where some of the smoke, as interpreted by the Federal Government, has reached a higher density that may cause people some problems."

In fact, the National Weather Service in Lubbock has issued a health alert, warning those with respiratory problems to avoid outdoor activity.

Our area may have to do the same, if the fire that has grown to more than 170,000 acres continues to burn, and the winds continue to carry its' smoke this way.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Moulton says, "Some older people, those sensitive to smoke, or those with respiratory problems, might want to limit their outdoor activities if it continues to linger in the area. We'll be keeping an eye on that."

But there is some good news for the Texas panhandle.

Moulton explains, "We're expecting the winds to become a little more stout and turn out of the north. It should divert the smoke away overnight. We're expecting a whole lot of clearing out tomorrow."

However, the plume of smoke is projected to be pushed back into our region Saturday, when the wind changes direction once again.