COLUMBIA, N.C. — State crews checked the air quality around an eastern North Carolina wildfire, while forecasters said a wind shift could blow smoke to Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro on Thursday.
WRAL viewers said smoke was creating haze and they could smell smoke in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday evening.They said they could smell it in Chapel Hill and Carrboro on Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service confirmed their observations. "Areas of smoke from a large wildfire over coastal North Carolina have spread westward into portions of central North Carolina this morning," the service's Raleigh office said in an advisory. "County officials report that the smoke is not very dense but that the smell of the smoke is very strong. The very young, the elderly and people with respiratory difficulties should remain indoors as much as possible through mid-morning, when the smoke is expected to thin out."
Smoke reduced visibility on roads around Goldsboro, Nashville, Rocky Mount, Smithfield and Wilson to less than 2 miles, according to the weather service.
Forecasters said lighter winds will allow conditions to worsen overnight, and the smoky air could persist for days.
Air quality from Raleigh to Winston-Salem could be affected by smoke carried by winds blowing to the southwest, Bill Swartley, a spokesman for the State Forest Division, said in a statement.
Field observers said the fire had burned about 39,779 acres, or about 62 square miles, and was about 40 percent contained, Swartley said. The figure was a revision of an earlier, slightly larger estimate Wednesday.
The smoke is everywhere. It's outside, it's in the house now; I assume because it's leaking in through the windows. I can't take Livvie outside for a few days because when you go outdoors it burns your throat. I have even brought the smell inside with me on my clothes.
The fire itself is about 3 hours away to the east. It's just crazy.
Hope everyone else has a wonderful day.