A surface dimming effect during a forest fire was observed in the incoming solar radiation measurements of the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (AEMN). A combination of in situ AEMN and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) datasets were used to demonstrate the implications on the forecasts when aerosol radiative effects are not included in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The clear sky incoming radiative flux predicted by the model at the surface was overestimated when aerosol optical depths (AODs) exceeded 0.2, which in turn caused a positive temperature bias and a negative mixing ratio bias at the surface. These biases resulted from differences in the energy partitioning at the surface, where the main contribution was from enhanced sensible heat flux. The model atmosphere was also cooler and drier than the MODIS profiles, indicative of the aerosol induced warming below 6 km.