Code Purple Air Alert Friday

Air quality officials have issued a Code Purple advisory for very unhealthy air quality in Manteo and mainland Dare County on Thursday and Friday as smoke from the Dare County wildfire drifts toward the north and northeast.

This is the first stand-alone Code Purple advisory that has been issued because of the Pains Bay Wildfire. Code Purple, or very unhealthy air quality, is the highest alert level.

In a press release from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDEN), officials say residents from mainland Dare County to Manteo, Elizabeth City and the northern Outer Banks could experience unhealthy air quality, and people are advised to avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors if they can see and smell smoke.

Code Orange conditions, or air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, could occur in all or parts of Camden, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Pasquotank and Tyrrell counties, according to NCDEN.

Fine particles can penetrate deeply into the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing or aggravating heart and lung diseases. Persons most susceptible to particle pollution include those with heart and respiratory conditions, older adults and young children. Symptoms of exposure to high particle levels include: irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest pain or tightness; shortness of breath and asthma attacks.

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