MCDOWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The Dobson Knob fire began burning Sunday evening near the community of North Cove in McDowell county. As of Wednesday evening, it is only 10% contained, covering around 550 acres.
Since the winds have been light the last few days, the smoke from the fire has led to poor air quality across the counties just upstream from McDowell where it is originating.
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A Code Orange air quality alert will remain in effect until midnight for McDowell, Rutherford, Burke, Caldwell, Alexander, and Catawba counties. Code Orange means that the air quality may be unhealthy for sensitive groups, and those with respiratory issues should limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
As of now, the outlook for Thursday is similar, with McDowell, Burke, Caldwell, Alexander, and Catawba counties expected to remain under a Code Orange. Children, active people, older adults, and those with heart or lung disease (like asthma) should also limit outdoor exposure when a Code Orange is in effect.
There is currently no air quality alert for the Charlotte area, but the Piedmont is reporting "moderate" air quality, which means unusually sensitive groups should consider limiting prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. This is one level above "good" air quality and one below a Code Orange.
Unfortunately, there is not much rain in the forecast to help with the fire containment over the next few days. Fire progression is expected to continue to the north/northeast possibly impacting the Ashford and North Cove Communities. The estimated containment as of now is Thursday April 20.