State News

Heat, burn ban, air quality alerts on for July 4th weekend

Posted July 2, 2011 6:32 a.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2011 10:11 a.m. EDT

— The Fourth of July means plenty of outdoor activities like fireworks and cookouts, but amid a stretch of hot weather, officials are warning North Carolina residents not to do anything that could cause another wildfire.

Temperatures will hit a high around 94 degrees Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Combined with few breezes, the heat will raise ozone levels, prompting a Code Orange warning Saturday for the Triangle and Fayetteville. Adults who work or exercise outdoors, people with respiratory diseases, the elderly adults and children should limit outdoor activities.

Eastern North Carolina will be dealing with smoke from large wildfires burning in Bladen, Pender and Sampson counties. The smoke could drift as far west as Wayne County.

Together, the wildfires and air quality alerts have much of central and eastern North Carolina under a ban on opening burning. That means no burning more than 100 feet from a home or residence.

The state Forest Service asked people to be especially cautious when using fireworks because of the potential to spark a fire.

A chance for showers and storms will return Sunday, after a sunny and dry Saturday.

Isolated late-afternoon or evening storms could hit Sunday. There's a 15 to 20 percent chance of any given area seeing rain.

"A lot of us will be missing out," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.

The chance of afternoon and evening storms increases to between 30 and 50 percent Monday, he said.

After that, highs around 90s continue to stretch out for the rest of the week.

"Each day next week, we have at least a slim chance of a shower or a storm," Moss said.