Croatan wildfire prompts air quality alerts

Air quality alerts
Air quality alerts(NCDENR)
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 8:39 PM EDT
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EASTERN CAROLINA, N.C. (WITN) -The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Raleigh has issued an Air Quality Action Day for Fine Particulates, until midnight Saturday night for eastern Carolina.

An Air Quality Alert means that Fine Particulates concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.

Hazardous air quality (Code Purple) is possible now near and immediately downwind of the fire. Unhealthy air quality (Code Orange or Red) is developing further downwind over eastern North Carolina. Current observed ozone levels are rising into the upper Code Yellow range statewide.

The wildfire is currently producing a large plume of heavy smoke and is also affecting Jones County. This plume will continue through tonight with overnight inversions possibly enhancing ground-level fine particulate readings, before daytime mixing and increasing southerly winds tomorrow ahead of an oncoming cold front moves smoke to the north.

Air quality in the Code Purple range may be possible near and immediately downwind of the fire in Jones and Craven counties, with Code Red conditions further north over Pitt, Beaufort and Pamlico counties. Code Orange conditions will be possible over a broad swath of eastern North Carolina, including Carteret and Onslow counties.

A passing cold front late tomorrow should act to push this smoke to the east.