'It was hazy.' People in Triangle react to air quality from Northeast Canada wildfire smoke

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023
First Alert Morning Forecast: June 7
Air quality alert for the Triangle.

It was hard not to notice the unusual color of the sunset that fell into the Raleigh sky Tuesday night.

"It was hazy," said Xavierian McCall. "We were looking at the cityscape there and I noticed."

McCall and his wife and four kids are home visiting family for a few days in Raleigh when we ran into them at Dix Park.

"We went to the pool and I opened my eyes underwater and thought my eyes just had chlorine in them," said Amor McCall, Xavierian's daughter.

It's not chlorine or fog they are seeing. It's the smoke from the wildfires burning rapidly over Northeast Canada wafting into North Carolina.

RELATED | Code Red air quality alert active Wednesday for much of North Carolina

"We lived in China so we're used to the pollution," Xavierian said.

The particles are so small they can propel themselves into your lungs and even get into your bloodstream, according to the Division of Air Quality with the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Air travels," said Shawn Taylor, public information officer in the Division of Air Quality at the NC Department of Environmental Quality. "It's not the same as when we're talking about water pollution and you have a more localized source. Air can travel vast distances across continents and that's what we're seeing here."

Dr. Allison Burbank is an allergist with UNC Health. She said older adults, young children and those who have asthma really need to heed the warning.

"Being in the red level of the air quality index means that the air in unhealthy for everyone," she said. "It doesn't mean everyone has to stay inside locked away the whole time but it might mean the people who are healthy consider limiting time outdoors."

Big Weather breaks down Code Red air quality alert