DHHS/NDEE Issue Smoke Advisory For Southeast And South Central Nebraska

For Immediate Release: 3/19/2021


Julie Naughton, Department of Health and Human Services, (402) 471-1695

Emily Case, Department of Environment and Energy, (402) 471-4245


Potential Air Quality Impacts from Prescribed Burning in the Kansas and Oklahoma Flint Hills

LINCOLN   An advisory of possible Moderate (yellow category) impacts may occur in southeast and south central Nebraska from March 19 at 7 p.m. through March 20 at 10 a.m., which may affect York, Lincoln, Beatrice, Omaha, Columbus and surrounding areas, especially to the south.

Intermittent Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange category) impacts in certain areas are also possible.

During yellow category/moderate conditions, unusually sensitive groups should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.  When conditions rise to the orange category, sensitive groups are advised to reduce prolonged outdoor exertion.

Current prescribed burning in Kansas and Oklahoma for the management of prairie and rangelands may affect the air quality in Nebraska. Therefore, both states monitor smoke levels and wind directions to let Nebraska know when impacts to Nebraska’s air quality may occur. Smoke advisories are issued for impacted areas by notifying the media and local health departments, and posting information on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s (NDEE) webpages and social media sites. Advisories help citizens protect their health by alerting them to days where outdoor activities should be reduced or avoided to minimize exposure to smoke.

Advisories are based on data provided by the state of Kansas, smoke plume modeling, and from air quality monitors located in Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Scottsbluff.

The following Air Quality Index (AQI) is used. This AQI is used nationally. For an hourly update on air quality across Nebraska, visit https://www.airnow.gov .

Air Quality Index

For more information on smoke awareness, visit NDEE’s website at http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AirSA  .

For more information on burn activity and a smoke outlook, visit NDEE’s website at http://deq.ne.gov/Press.nsf/pages/AirSA-2  

View seasonal news release for information on the Flint Hills burns –