Charlotte should be able to breathe a bit easier Thursday, as Wednesday’s red alert for air quality was downgraded to orange.
That still means people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should be careful about exertion. But it’s not as bad as Wednesday, when smoke from wildfires in the mountains of western North Carolina was so thick that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools urged schools to keep students inside.
While firefighters continue to battle blazes, a wind shift cleared the air around Charlotte slightly, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
Counties under the Code Orange alert include Mecklenburg, Iredell, Rowan, Lincoln, Gaston, Cabarrus and Union. Residents located farther west – in upstate South Carolina, Cleveland, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Alexander counties – face another Code Red day.
The lingering drought continues to pose a threat of fire closer to home. The Charlotte Fire Department said Mecklenburg County is in “a crisis situation” because of the threat of brush fire and banned all outdoor burning until further notice.