Agricultural burning causes Lancaster County to issue air pollution health advisory in Nebraska

PrairieBurnThanks Kansas!

Due to high levels of smoke from agricultural burning, much of it from neighboring Kansas, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today issued a Health Advisory with concerns that the poor air quality will continue this weekend. The Health Department said levels of smoke in the air impact the health of all people, but especially those with asthma, lung disease, other respiratory conditions or heart disease. To avoid smoke exposure, people should stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activity, said an LLCHD advisory.

“Winds from the south and the extensive burning in the Midwest, especially the Flint Hills area of Kansas, have exposed people in Lincoln and all of Southeast Nebraska to unhealthy levels of smoke in the air,” said Scott Holmes, Manager of the Environmental Health Division with LLCHD. “And, given the wind forecast for today and tomorrow, Lincoln will likely be impacted again this weekend. Smoke is made up of tiny particles and gases. When these are breathed into the lungs, they can cause asthma attacks, worsen chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cause angina in some people with heart disease. When the Air Quality Index is in the red, like it was this morning for several hours, the air quality was unhealthy for everyone.”

People are advised to keep windows and doors closed. In the car, set the air conditioner on “re-circulate.” Those who experience difficulty breathing, coughing, tightness in the chest or angina should contact a doctor.

The LLCHD monitors air quality 24 hours a day. The Air Quality Index for Lincoln is updated daily and can be found by clicking here. The Health Department said people are encouraged to check the AQI the next few days before doing any strenuous activities outside.

Click on the video below to see why ranchers and farmers burn off their fields in the spring. Video courtesy of Kansas State University Research and Extension.

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