"NEW BERN, N.C. — Air quality across much of eastern North Carolina has reached unhealthy levels in several coastal counties as a 55-square-mile (140-square-kilometer) wildfire burns the Croatan National Forest, the state Department of Environmental Quality said Saturday.
Twenty-one counties have been under alerts for air quality. The department’s Division of Air Quality warned that the Great Lake wildfire in southwestern Craven County has blanketed coastal North Carolina and parts of Virginia in heavy smoke and falling ash.
The fire was first detected Wednesday evening and spready rapidly Thursday due to dry and windy conditions, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Craven County officials said the fire was about 10% contained as of Saturday."