KDHE issues air quality health advisory – Osage County Online | Osage County News

KDHE issues air quality health advisory

Prescribe burning to increase this weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. – Conditions will be ideal for burning in the Flint Hills and surrounding areas during the period of Friday, April 7, 2017 through Sunday, April 9, 2017. Air pollutant levels are expected to be elevated, and may be unhealthy both near and downwind of burn activity.

These burns occur annually to help preserve the tallgrass prairie, control invasive species such as eastern red cedar and sumac, and provide better forage for cattle. Prescribed burning minimizes risk of wildfires and is effective in managing wildland resources. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas and can be carried long distances.

Prescribed burns release large amounts of particulate matter and substances that can form ozone. Particulate matter and ozone can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals. Common health problems include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children, and elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect your health on days when smoke is present in your community include:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart related illnesses should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

KDHE and partners continue to implement the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan to help mitigate air quality impacts that result from burning. The plan includes recommendations to minimize and disperse the smoke produced by burning.

Air pollutant levels can be monitored using the KDHE Bureau of Air website at www.kdheks.gov/bar/air-monitor/airdata.html, and EPA Air Now airnow.gov. For more information about the burning in the Flint Hills and the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, see www.ksfire.org.

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