Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Here's why you might smell smoke in Austin today

The Austin skyline seen during a low-air-quality day in April 2020.
Gabriel C. Pérez
The Austin skyline seen during a low-air-quality day in April 2020.

Skies are hazy in the Austin area Friday as smoke moves in from wildfires across the state. That might explain why some Austinites are smelling smoke outside. People with breathing conditions, like asthma, may want to limit their time outdoors.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has also deemed Friday an Ozone Action Day for the Austin area. That means conditions are just right to produce lower-than-normal air quality. High temperatures and low winds mixed with pollution boost ozone (aka smog) levels in the area.

People who are sensitive to ozone may want to reduce their outdoor activities to avoid any respiratory issues. You can check the current air quality here.

The Austin area, like much of Texas, is at an elevated risk of wildfires this weekend. The highs are forecasted to be in the 80s, and the air will be very dry, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS has issued a Fire Weather Watch in Central Texas for Saturday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Dry conditions and gusty winds will lead to an increased chance of wildfires. A burn ban is in effect for Travis County and several other Central Texas counties.

Wildfires have already burned almost 123,000 acres in Texas this month. Eastland County, which is northwest of Austin, has been hit the hardest, with an estimated 54,000 acres burned so far.

You can view a map of fire and smoke in Texas here.

If you found this reporting valuable, please consider making a donation to support it. Your gift pays for everything you find on Thanks for donating today.

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
Related Content