Air quality officials reduce health notice for eastern North Carolina

RALEIGH

Air quality officials have scaled back an advisory for air pollution in eastern North Carolina over the weekend as smoke from wildfires subsided on Friday. However, residents close to the fires in Brunswick, Dare and Hyde counties could experience unhealthy air quality, depending on wind directions.

A 10,000-acre wildfire in Hyde County and a 1,500-acre fire in Brunswick County are affecting some coastal communities with smoke that could contain high levels of particle pollution. The Hyde County fire is located on both sides of U.S. Highway 264 near the Dare County line. The Brunswick County fire is located near Clemmons Road in Bolivia.

Winds are expected to be variable over the weekend, with prevailing winds carrying smoke to areas downwind from the fires. The smoke is expected to subside due to the combined effects of rain and fire-fighting efforts. For more information, visit the state air quality website at www.ncair.org or the smoke forecast page.

The air quality forecast for this weekend estimates that particle pollution could exceed the daily standard set by the federal government. High particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.

Forecasters have predicted Code Orange conditions, or unhealthy for sensitive groups, in portions of Brunswick, Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties. The forecast means people who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Sensitive groups include the elderly, children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality issues daily air forecasts for the Triangle, Charlotte, Asheville, Hickory, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount metropolitan areas. In the Triad, forecasts are issued by the Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection.

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