Smoky Summer Turns Clear

Smoky Summer Turns Clear

Spinnaker

The smoke, which subdued Jacksonville at the start of May, dissipated around June 22 but left UNF students with cloudy memories of grey skies, foul smells and migraines.Due to wildfires raging from Southeast Georgia to Northeast Florida, smoke loomed across the Jacksonville area making for very hot and dry temperatures as well as repulsive smells. This is the third driest period in Florida’s history, according to the Florida Department of Forestry.

While the smoke affected several spots across North Florida, the air at UNF in particular was stale. Students could barely breathe when walking across campus. Some students chose to hold their breaths so as not to inhale the smoke.

Chris LaMendola, a UNF finance senior, said the smoke affected his sinuses.

“My allergies are killing me,” he said. “It sucks.”

LaMendola is relieved the smoke has left UNF since he has to be on campus almost every day for summer classes.

For others, the smoke caused severe headaches. Cristina Ficklin, a UNF journalism junior, was also affected by the smoke while on campus.

“I hate the smoke; It hurts my eyes,” she said.

Ficklin’s 19-year-old brother is experiencing nosebleeds because of the heat from the smoke, so it’s especially bothering him.

As unbearable as the smoke was, no students visited the Student Health Services with respiratory problems during the smoke out, according to SHS nurse Nancy Youngberg.

The staff was surprised there was no increase of patient visits while the smoke lingered on campus, she said.

Over the summer, SHS, which is located in building 39A on the second floor, charges a $30 appointment fee to any student who is not currently enrolled at UNF. Considering not as many students are enrolled during summer semesters, Youngberg said students are more likely to visit their primary practitioner outside UNF rather than paying a fee.

Duval County in particular is still experiencing drought, which means that UNF could potentially see more smoke from wildfires throughout this upcoming summer. Although students may be able to breathe fresh air now, the temperatures are continuing to rise. Fires may potentially be in the future forecast, so every individual needs to be active in playing a part in preventing wildfires. By following burning regulations and forest fire laws, people can avoid potentially hazardous situations.