Somewhat smokey skies Sept 16 2020 sky

Smoke from wildfires in the western part of the nation are affecting the air in Nebraska and other states. Pictured above, the normal clear autumn skies of Custer County are tinted with the smoke from fires out west. (Sept. 16, 2020, Broken Bow, Neb.)

Numerous large wildfires in the Western United States may affect the air quality in Nebraska. Nebraska continues to monitor smoke levels and wind directions and provides updates accordingly to the media and public.

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 NDEE and the National Weather Service (NWS), and from air quality monitors located in Lincoln, Omaha, Bellevue, Grand Island, and Scottsbluff.

Western Nebraska:

  • An advisory of possible Moderate (yellow category) to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange category) impacts may occur on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Impacts may continue through Friday, Sept. 18.  Conditions are expected to move back to the green category, (no impacts), by Saturday, Sept. 19.

 Central and eastern Nebraska:

  • An advisory of Moderate (yellow category) impacts may occur on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.  Conditions are expected to move back to the green category, (no impacts), by Thursday, Sept. 17.

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.

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

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