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Air Quality Advisory lifted for Alexander



(Updated Aug. 7, 4:40 pm)

Air Quality Advisory lifted for
Alexander County, most Western NC areas

RALEIGH – State officials have lifted air quality advisories for all but one county in western North Carolina as heavy rains Thursday significantly reduced the effects of smoke from wildfires.

The Code Orange advisory for air pollution put in place Thursday for seven counties remained in effect for only McDowell County. Residents in McDowell County could continue to experience unhealthy air quality, and people there should limit prolonged outdoor activity if they see or smell smoke.

State officials lifted the advisory for Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Watauga counties, as heavy rains greatly reduced the wildfire smoke containing high levels of particle pollution. While conditions are better today, forecasts show a drying trend that could prompt more smoke-related concerns this weekend for people in western North Carolina. The culprits for the smoke are two wildfires in the Pisgah National Forest.

Due to smoke from the fires, elevated levels of particle pollution in Boone and Marion were measured earlier this week by air monitors operated by the N.C. Division of Air Quality. As of Friday morning, both air monitors were showing significantly improved conditions. The primary pollutant of concern is fine particles, or PM 2.5, which consists of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air. Particles can be harmful to breathe and contribute to haze and other air quality problems.

High particle levels can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung ailments and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.

The Code Orange forecast means people sensitive to air pollution should avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Sensitive groups include the elderly, children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Other people in a Code Orange area should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion if experiencing smoky conditions.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality issues daily air forecasts for the Triangle, Charlotte, Asheville, Hickory, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount metropolitan areas. In the Triad, forecasts are issued by the Forsyth County Environmental Affairs Department. For additional information, call 1-888-RU4NCAIR (1-888-784-6224) or visit the division’s website at or Forsyth County’s website at,


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