Smoke From N.C. Wildfire Drifts Across Worcester

BERLIN- The heavy, acrid smoke that arrived across much of Worcester County this week drifted north from a massive wildfire in North Carolina.

By mid-day on Wednesday, much of Worcester County was socked in with heavy smoke and a strong, acrid odor stemming from an active wildfire in Dare County, N.C. hundred of miles away. Smoke from the North Carolina wildfire traveled up the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Worcester, prompting dozens of calls to the County Fire Marshal’s Office from Assateague to Berlin and from Snow Hill to Pocomoke and almost everywhere in between.

By Wednesday afternoon, strong, northeasterly winds had driven much of the smoke inland in some areas of the county, although the associated haze and odor persisted along the coastal areas. By Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service advised the Worcester County area could see a worsening condition because of decreasing winds coupled with the high heat and humidity forecasted for the area. In addition, county officials said an Air Quality Alert could be issued if the smoke from the North Carolina wildfire continued to persist in the area.

The County Fire Marshal’s Office is urging residents and visitors to be aware of the situation and avoid calling 911 to report general, non-specific smoke and odor conditions which may be caused by the North Carolina wildfires to the south. Doing so would assist the Fire Marshal’s Office and the county’s volunteer fire companies from expending resources unnecessarily.

This week’s smoke inundation from a wildfire in North Carolina is not the first in Worcester County in recent years. In July 2008, a massive stump fire sent smoke north across much of the mid-Atlantic including the Ocean City area and all of Worcester County for a period of several days during the height of the summer season.