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NDEQ Provides Online Updates on Controlled Burning and Smoke Conditions

March 24, 2017 -- The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has launched some new pages on its web site to discuss how regional controlled burning can impact air quality. Called “Smoke Awareness in Nebraska,” this site will be updated regularly from March to mid-April, when large controlled burns in the Flint Hills area of Kansas and Oklahoma occur and can potentially impact air quality in surrounding states. Through mid-April, NDEQ’s web site main page will feature a link to this new information, under the title “Smoke Awareness Information.” The direct link to this information is http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AirSA.

The online pages provide:
  • Updates on controlled burns -- As part of its Smoke Management Plan, the State of Kansas evaluates how the impact of burning could affect populated areas, including in Nebraska. During the burn season, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment provides regular updated forecasts. NDEQ also posts this information on its web site on the page, Updates of Controlled Burns, http://deq.ne.gov/Press.nsf/pages/AirSA-2, which is updated frequently.
  • Links to more Flint Hills information – The State of Kansas and various organizations have developed a web site www.ksfire.org, that provides more information about why controlled burns are annually conducted in the Flint Hills region, an explanation of the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, and access to their smoke modeling tool with daily updates on burning conditions.
  • Nebraska’s Air Quality Forecast – The site provides current conditions of Nebraska’s Air Quality and tomorrow’s forecast by linking to the federal AirNow website located at https://www.airnow.gov/.
  • Steps to Consider When Air Quality is Impacted – Health officials provide a list of tips on potential health impacts, and what to do on days when air quality is impacted from smoke.

In addition to featuring this information during the normal burn season, NDEQ will also make it available at other times when Nebraska’s air quality could be impacted by a regional smoke event, such as a large wildfire.