State News

Air pollution from coastal wildfire extends to Triangle

Posted May 11, 2011 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2011 4:43 p.m. EDT

— An air pollution advisory extended west from the coast to the Triangle Wednesday as smoke from a Dare County wildfire kept drifting downwind. The advisory extends until 10:15 a.m. Thursday and includes Wake, Durham, Orange and surrounding counties.

A fire in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties blanketed some parts of the region with heavy smoke and pollution for a second day Wednesday. Poor air quality from the smoke will likely continue overnight and into early Thursday.

The Code Orange advisory warns that residents could experience unhealthy air quality, and especially sensitive groups, such as people with asthma, should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

The risk could reach a Code Red in southern Dare, Tyrrell, Martin and Washington counties as well as all of Beaufort, Craven, Green, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico and Pitt counties. The air quality there could be so poor that even healthy people are at risk.

Firefighters and emergency response officials are urging people who see and smell smoke not to call 911 unless they see a fire, a smoke column or wish to report someone burning irresponsibly.

Reports of haze and the smell of smoke drifted in to the WRAL newsroom from as far away as South Hill, Va.