Coastal residents are being warned about unhealthy levels of smoke thanks to that massive wildfire burning in Dare County.
The Pains Bay Wildfire has burned an estimated 21,000 acres and the North Carolina Division of Air Quality says residents from Nags Head to Wilmington could experience unhealthy air quality.
The air pollution forecast for Tuesday predicts that fine particle levels could exceed the standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours. Health officials say high particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.
Forecasters have predicted Code Red or unhealthy air quality in southern Dare and eastern Hyde counties. In addition, residents could experience Code Orange conditions, or unhealthy for sensitive groups, in the following counties: Carteret, southeastern Craven, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico. Intermittent smoke with periodic Code Orange conditions may occur in Beaufort, western Craven, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties.