HOUSTON — As tens of thousands of acres burn in multiple Texas locations, the smoke from those wildfires moved into the Houston area Friday morning, causing hazy conditions, poor air quality, and a burning odor throughout the region, KHOU 11 Meteorologist Kim Castro said.
Winds overnight shifted out of the northwest, bringing the thick air from just under a dozen fires that are burning across the state.
By the afternoon, visibility and air quality conditions had improved to moderate levels. Earlier in the day, the smoke made the air unhealthy throughout the region, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The largest of the fires that caused the smoke is in Eastland County, approximately 85 miles west of Fort Worth. The Kidd fire has burned approximately 33,000 acres, according to the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System.
That fire consumed multiple structures in Ranger, Texas, overnight, including the police department building and a 100-year-old church there.
Winds Friday were out of the northwest and were blowing into the Houston area at around 15 mph and gusts were up to 30 mph in some locations.
EPA officials recommend N95 masks as a way to protect yourself from smoke and ash from wildfires if you have to be indoors.
"The most effective way to protect yourself during wildfire emergencies is to stay indoors or limit your time outdoors when there is smoke in the air," officials said in a factsheet provided on the EPA's website.
Conditions impacted some aviation operations in the region Friday morning, though no commercial delays were reported at Bush or Hobby airports.
Winds were expected to continue blowing out of the northwest throughout the day, with forecast wind speeds from 12 to 18 mph across the region, and gusts of up to 29 mph were reported at Bush Intercontinental Airport Friday morning.
While the smoke blew into Houston, firefighters from our area were on the ground in West Texas to help with containment efforts, including a crew from Spring.
The orange sky was the subject of countless social media posts as the sun climbed higher Friday morning, and the smell was a hot topic among emergency dispatchers.
This is a look at the Eastland complex fire
"We have received a number of reports of a burning smell," Sugar Land authorities tweeted. "Fire-EMS has found nothing in Sugar Land contributing to the smell. Reports of a burning smell are occurring throughout the Houston region."
What are you seeing where you are now? Use the Near Me feature in the KHOU 11 app to share your videos and photos of the hazy conditions in your area.