Smoke from hundreds of miles away makes its way to the Piedmont on Easter Sunday

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The Triad saw smoky skies and the smell of wood burning Sunday, dropping the air quality in central North Carolina.

According to North Carolina Forest Service officials, the smoke came from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Georgia and Florida.

"Winds can push the smoke at ground level literally hundreds of miles," said Bill Swartley, the public information officer for the North Carolina Forest Service.

Nearly 20,000 acres are burning in the West Mims Fire in southeast Georgia. The fire started from a lightning strike on April 6, and right now it's only three percent contained.

In north Florida, more than 3,000 acres are burning in the Red Fox Fire. It was started by a person on March 18, and more than a month later it's still only 75 percent contained.

"It consists of wood smoke, which is a very fine smoke," Swartley said.

The smoke bumped Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, and Stokes Counties from "good" to "moderate" air quality.

"With that smoke when you inhale it, sometimes you don't exhale all of it, so there can be all kinds of contaminates associated with it," Swartley said.

So just how bad does air quality need to be before you start to worry about your health?

Days like Sunday should only impact people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution, according to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality. But when it gets any worse, the Division of Air Quality says kids, seniors and active adults need to limit their time outside.

"Remain inside if the smoke is dense enough, and just keep the windows and doors closed," Swartley said.

Monday's air quality forecast for the Triad is expected to return to normal.

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