You’re Not Imagining the Haze: NC Air Quality is a ‘Code Orange’

Flames from the Donnie Creek wildfire burn along a ridge top north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 2, 2023. Continuing wildfires in Canada have impacted air quality in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

By Leah Sherrell

July 20, 2023

The NC Department of Environmental Quality has issued a “Code Orange” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” air quality alert for central and western North Carolina. 

North Carolinians that are sensitive to air pollution (children, older adults, and anyone with a respiratory condition) should limit their time outside. According to DEQ’s site, the smoke carries smaller particles called PM2.5 that can aggravate lung related conditions and are linked to heart conditions.

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North Carolina, and other parts of the continental U.S. have been facing air quality problems in the last month because of Canadian wildfires. Environmental advocates say the increase in wildfires is directly related to climate change. 

In the beginning of June, most of the state was under a “Code Red: air quality alert, and the remaining counties were labeled with a Code Orange. The air quality is expected to improve to a “moderate” level as the week progresses. 


  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.

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