Mountain fires lead to Code Red air quality Wednesday
Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016
By Deirdre Parker Smith
Due to the fires burning more than 40,000 acres of the North Carolina mountains, Wednesday has been declared a Code Red air quality action day.
The fires grew by about 1,700 acres today. Dry weather and high winds have helped to spread the fires and no rain is forecast in the near future. Fresh winds Thursday may mean a further spread of fires. Some people in the Piedmont will actually notice a smoky smell tonight and into the rest of the week.
Code Red means the air is unhealthy for everyone. Those with heart or lung disease will be especially affected. Children and those who work outdoors will also be affected. Everyone is urged to avoid outdoor activity. This is the worst air quality day of 2016.
Thursday and Friday will be Code Orange air quality days, meaning the elderly, those with heart or lung disease, children and sensitive adults, including those with asthma, should limit outdoor activity.
Fires are burning in Clay, Macon, Swain and Jackson counties, along with areas of the Tennessee border, and portions of the Appalachians in Georgia. Fires are also burning in Buncombe, Rutherford and Henderson counties, as well as areas of Burke County.