Smoke causes air quality issues in Omaha

Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 18:29:04-04

Thursday morning the Douglas County Health Department issued a warning that the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Douglas County was in the "unhealthy" category.

The smoke from agricultural fires in the Flint Hills areas of southern Kansas made its way to the metro.

“You step outside, you smell the smoke, you see the smoke, your eye can burn,” said Douglas County Health Department Air Quality scientist Russell Hayden.

“The smoke can affect anyone basically going out and exercising in these conditions, but especially those sensitive groups are what we are concerned with,” he said. 

Haydan cautioned those who like to go outside a lot to pay attention to the air quality the next couple of days. 

SEE ALSO: 6 things you can do to stay safe during poor air quality

Those with allergies really felt the burn with all the smoke in the air.

“People have been really struggling the last several weeks with their allergies, and this is just another hit to them, and if you are outside too long it will cause problems,“ said UNMC allergist Jill Poole.

The health department said that if the fires in Kansas continue to burn, Thursday night’s winds will determine what we wake up to on Friday. 

“It’s all based on weather conditions, if the anticipate 5-10mph winds tonight end up being nothing, then we might come in tomorrow and have to do this again,” said Hansan.

Several metro area schools canceled outdoor activities, including recess.

MORE: Omaha Public Schools keeping kids inside due to air quality