Triangle air quality moves to ‘code orange’ due to wildfires

(North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources)
(North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A haze could be seen across Raleigh Friday as smoke from the mountain wildfires began to creep across the Triangle.

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Raleigh and the rest of the Triangle are now in a code orange, or “unsafe for sensitive groups,” according to data from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

When an area is in code orange, the general public likely won’t be affected, but those with heart and lung disease, older adults and children could be impacted by smoke particles in the air.

Also Friday, the Town of Cary put out a news release telling people they should “not call 911 about smoke unless they see a fire.”

The town’s 911 dispatchers had begun receiving calls asking what the smoke residents were seeing and the haze they were smelling was, Carrie Roman, town spokeswoman, said.

She said there had been fewer than 50 of the calls, but officials wanted to be proactive.

She emphasized that residents should not be shy about calling 911 for other reasons.

“We certainly want people to call if there’s an emergency in their area,” she said.

This viewer photo shows the hazy conditions Friday in Cary.
This viewer photo shows the hazy conditions Friday in Cary.

The fires in Western North Carolina have burned more than 50,000 acres and 1,000 people to evacuate.

The air quality closer to the fires has been considered code red for several days. Code red, or unhealthy, means anyone could be affected by the poor air quality.

Thousands of firefighters are working to contain fires in North and South Carolina along with fires in Tennessee and Georgia.

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Saturday’s forecast as the Triangle’s air quality improving to “moderate” as the area will host two college football games.

N.C. State will play Miami in Raleigh at 12:30 p.m. with UNC hosting the Citadel at 3:30 p.m. in Chapel Hill.

CBS North Carolina meteorologist Bill Reh said fans in attendance and players on the field won’t notice the smoke beyond the potential smell.

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