SWANSBORO, N.C. – A wildfire in the Croatan National Forest near New Bern has consumed over 20,000 acres and is producing large amounts of smoke.
Although the fire itself poses no danger to homes or people smoke can be an issue for people with sensitive respiratory systems.
The N.C. Division of Air Quality is warning folks of potential code red air quality in parts Carteret, Craven, Jones, Pamlico and Beaufort Counties and urging people to avoid exposure to smoke if possible.
U.S. Forest Service public information officer Don Simon says the smoke is more prevalent in morning or evening hours.
"When things cool down at night the smoke will settle down and in the early morning hours it can be very dangerous to drive and very dangerous to breath. There was a code red warning basically telling people to stay indoors if they had to."
New Bern resident Teresa Sykes says on Monday evening she saw first hand how fast conditions can change.
"It moved in quickly, within like 15-20 minutes. It went from clear, you couldn't smell it to you walk back outside and you could just see the smoke and ashes were literally falling."
The fire is being called the dad fire because it began Father's Day weekend when a prescribed burn went out of control.