After smoky start to the week, skies clearing in the North Carolina High Country
Smoke from fires in Canada evident in Watauga County
BLOWING ROCK, N.C. (WBTV) - The Great Smoky Mountains were a little smokier this week, and in the North Carolina High Country visibility was reduced along the Blue Ridge mountains due to those fires in Canada.
Thursday saw improving conditions across the mountains.
“It’s a beautiful day in Blowing Rock,” one visitor said on Thursday while waking along the sidewalk in downtown Blowing Rock.
And so it was. Sidewalks were crowded, parking spaces at a premium. If the smoke was an irritant earlier in the week, it didn’t stop loads of people from being outside today for a walk, for play, or a meal.
“Today seems to be a lot better,” said Nick Dorion.
Better than Tuesday and Wednesday when it was described like this…
“It was terrible, it was really bad up here, couple days ago because when we left you couldn’t see down the mountain at all,” Nick added.
“It was pretty hazy,” said Tracey Carriker of Twin Creeks On Main. “It was hard to see much of the ridge line, three days ago.”
Tourism is big in the high country and local merchants were concerned about the impact of that smoke.
“Another thing right now with all the smoke, so a lot of people are saying well, if I need to stay at home, or if it’s bad in this area I’m not going to go there,” Carriker said. “It’s not horrible so I don’t think it should stop anybody from coming. I think it was worse three days ago than it was today.”
Bad, in Blowing Rock?
“A bad day in Blowing Rock is better than a good day anywhere else in my book,” said Bryan Summers, who runs the historic Hemlock Inn. He’s hopeful for a big weekend here.
“If you have allergies and things like that it’ll probably affect you, but this isn’t New York City,” Summers said. “One of the benefits of being in Blowing Rock is the wind always blows, so we’re not sitting in stagnant air, so not really a concern, once again, this isn’t the first time that this has happened here.”
Up on the parkway you could see the haze, but even at that, a couple from the Chicago area thought the view was...
“Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking,” said Joan Sheehan. “We’ve looked at a lot of the overlooks and I would say this is by far the best one. It is a little bit hazy and just gorgeous.”
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