Wildfire smoke to clog skies, lungs through holiday weekend
Two wildfires burning in the rural areas of eastern North Carolina are raising air quality warnings for holiday weekend travelers. Some unhealthy air could spread as far as Kill Devil Hills.Posted — Updated
The forecast means people who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Residents of Chowan, Dare and Gates counties are under a Code Orange forecast. Sensitive groups, such as the very young or old, and people with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are advised to limit outdoor activity under those conditions.
Hyde County farmer Randy Hubers has watched the fire destroy his crops. A shift in wind is a “concern,” he said.
In the map below, the red are indicates the fire zone, where more than 40,000 acres continue to burn deep into the ground. Red markers denote areas of worst air pollution. Yellow markers indicate areas where air is dangerous to sensitive groups – the very young or very old, and those with chronic lung diseases.
Protect yourself from wildfire smoke
- Reduce time outdoors. This can provide protection, especially in a tightly closed house where the air-conditioner can re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air.
- Reduce time engaged in outdoor physical activity. This can be effective in lowering the dose of inhaled air pollutants.
- Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution that can emit the same pollutants found in wildfire smoke. Indoor sources such as burning cigarettes, gas, propane and wood-burning stoves and furnaces, and activities such as cooking, burning candles and incense and vacuuming can greatly increase the particle levels in a home and should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.
- scratchy throat
- shortness of breath
- irritated sinuses
- chest pain
- stinging eyes
- runny nose
North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief is providing showers, laundry services and food to firefighters in Hyde County. To donate to the relief effort, send a check to: NCBM Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512.