State News

Smoke from coastal wildfire drifts west

Posted June 3, 2011 4:00 a.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2011 6:52 a.m. EDT

— A nearly 30,000-acre wildfire burning in a coastal wildlife refuge was sending smoke far to its west Friday, sparking alerts about air pollution for much of eastern North Carolina.

The advisory extends as far west as Johnston, Harnett, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Nash, Robeson and Wayne counties. The alert from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality means that people sensitive to air pollution, such as children and the elederly, should take precautions and limit outdoor activities in the afternoon.

A more severe Code Red air quality alert covers coastal counties closer to the fire, including Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell counties.

Smoke from the fire blew across the Triangle earlier in May, creating a distinct odor and haze.

The fire began burning May 5 in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties and in the Dare County Range, owned by the U.S. Department of Defense. It's burning nine miles south of Manns Harbor and has been 80 percent contained.