Reposted courtesy of WOBX

By Sam Walker

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada will continue to cause air quality issues across the greater Outer Banks on Thursday, June 8.

On Wednesday, northeastern North Carolina was covered for much of the day by a blanket of low clouds associated with a frontal boundary and the smoke, which prompted a Code Orange Air Quality alert.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) and the Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection have issued a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for the entire state for Thursday.

A smokey Pamilco Sound, June 7, 2023. Photo: P. Vankevich

National Weather Service seven-day forecasts for:
Meteorologists will reevaluate the conditions on Thursday ahead of releasing Friday’s air quality forecast. Smoky conditions may persist through Friday, but a low-pressure system is hoped to move smoke offshore by the weekend.

Code Orange on the Air Quality index represents unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. Older adults, younger children and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma should limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

The alerts signal the potential for health impacts from significantly elevated levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, which is composed of particles smaller than the width of a human hair. These particles can reach deep in the lungs and aggravate asthma and other lung conditions and have been linked to heart conditions.

Smoke and accompanying high levels of PM2.5 started to be carried downwind from Canada into North Carolina on Tuesday, leading to levels in the Code Red range overnight and early on Wednesday. Since then, PM2.5 levels have lowered significantly, but may remain in the Code Orange level Thursday.

DAQ monitors and forecasts ozone and PM2.5 daily using the Air Quality Index (AQI), along with the corresponding AQI color codes, to help North Carolinians plan their outdoor activities. Next-day and extended products are issued by 3 p.m. with a morning update by 10 a.m.

For the latest air quality information, visit the Air Quality Portal online. DEQ’s website has a list of resources for keeping safe around wildfire smoke.

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