Much of North Carolina is under a Code Orange air quality alert Tuesday and Wednesday due to smoke from wildfires in Canada.

The Raleigh skyline will appear overcast or hazy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and more than 73 million Americans are under an air quality alert.

Wildfires in Canada are causing a spike in air pollution that's now affecting the Carolinas and prompting Code Orange air quality alerts for both days.

Air quality index

Dangerous air quality can impact seniors, young children and people who have breathing issues.

According to WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner, it's not uncommon for the Triangle to be under Code Yellow in the summer.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, however, the Triangle is under a Code Orange, which poses a threat for sensitive groups of people. This includes children, older adults and people heart or lung diseases, asthma and other preexisting respiratory conditions.

Code Orange is an action day, meaning people in this group will need to limit time outdoors. Healthy adults can carry on with their usual activities.

"You just don’t want to overdo it with this amount of smoke in the air," Gardner said.

On Wednesday, cloudy skies and a chance for rain could improve air quality a bit.

On Thursday, the area should return to Code Yellow.

The spike in air pollution comes from the wildfires raging in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia -- more than 1,000 miles away.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires: June 7

Hazy skies have blanketed a wide portion of the country.

You can help prevent air pollution by driving less, conserving electricity and avoiding idling in cars.

The wildfire that forced thousands of residents from their homes in Canada's Atlantic Coast province of Nova Scotia is now contained, but officials said Sunday a second wildfire remains out of control. The blaze broke out a week ago, forcing 16,000 people from their suburban homes and destroying some 200 structures, including 151 homes.

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