Due in part to continued wildfires in Watauga and Ashe, they High Country has been placed in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality index for today.
The North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center states in their report for Wednesday:
Areas of unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke will remain over portions of western North Carolina on Wednesday. Winds will remain steady out of the south Wednesday in advance of an incoming upper-level disturbance. These southerly winds will carry smoke from the Rock Creek fire, the Pinnacle fire, the Clear Creek fire and a smaller wildfire in Watauga County northward across the Mountains and Foothills. Current visible satellite imagery is showing significant smoke production from each of these fires and it is possible that similar smoke production will continue on Wednesday. Code Red conditions, indicating unhealthy air quality for everyone, will be possible Wednesday near and downwind of these fires. This includes the entire Asheville forecast region, as well as Macon, McDowell, and Mitchell counties. Code Orange conditions will be possible over the Hickory forecast region, as well as along the remainder of the North Carolina Mountains and southern Foothills. A small wildfire burning in Watauga County may also contribute to Code Orange conditions there and in neighboring Ashe County. Code Yellow conditions will be possible over the northern Foothills and over the Charlotte forecast region. Code Green conditions are expected over the eastern half of the state. The forecast will be monitored closely for any updates tomorrow morning.
If you can see heavy haze and smell smoke, then air quality is not good and you should limit your outdoor activities. This is particularly important for sensitive groups – that is, children, older adults, people with heart and respiratory problems, and those who work and exercise outside for extended times.