Thursday, June 20, 2024

Tri-county air quality compromised due to smoke from Canadian wildfires

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Particle pollution is rising across North Carolina due to wildfires taking place north of the U.S. border.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s air division put out a code red and orange for cities statewide for Wednesday, June 7.

The red alert blankets the majority of central North Carolina, indicating unhealthy air quality for everyone in those zones, while code orange is in place for the tri-county region.

Smoke from the Canadian fires is spreading across the U.S., from New York to Baltimore to Minneapolis. More than 160 forest fires are currently active in Quebec, as firefighters continue to contain their widespread. Many of the fires likely started from a lightning strike, NASA reports.

As of Tuesday, a haze permeated the Carolina sky, with cities in the Triangle, Triad and Piedmont under code orange and southeastern counties under code yellow. The upgraded alert goes into effect at midnight, according to a release from DEQ.

The state agency said the pollution could affect those who are outdoors for longer periods of time, particularly older adults and younger children, as well as active people with respiratory and heart conditions. The agency advises people sensitive to these health ailments avoid time outside Wednesday.

“As the smoke continues to build into the state, high levels of fine particles are expected to mix near ground level,” the release stated.

The fine particles, PM2.5, are smaller than the width of a human hair and can bury deep into the lungs, aggravating asthma or other lung issues.

The DEQ will issue a Wednesday update by 10 a.m. More information can be tracked at the Air Quality Portal.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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