Southern Wildfires Leaves Triangle Skies Hazy

Posted May 16, 2007 11:02 a.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2007 6:26 p.m. EDT

— Smoke from wildfires on the Georgia-Florida border invaded North Carolina on Wednesday, putting a pungent odor in the air in the Triangle and bringing numerous calls to 911 centers.

The National Weather Service said 35-40 mph winds were carrying the smoke from the fire that has burned 390 square miles.

Forecasters advised emergency management personnel, but firefighters still had to try to separate the general smoky condition from any local incidents that needed their attention.

People who have asthma or other breathing problems were advised to limit outdoor activity.

In Charlotte, fire Capt. Rob Brisley urged residents not to call 911 just to report smoke and to use the emergency phone line only if they actually see smoke or flames coming from a structure.

About 50 miles northeast of Charlotte, emergency dispatchers in Davidson County said they had been "overwhelmed" by callers reporting the smoke.

It also created a haze more than 100 miles to the north in Orange County, where emergency dispatchers reported multiple calls as well as in Chatham County.

Firefighters who were battling the wildfire said Tuesday evening that they were making progress against the fire, but it was not yet contained.