Air quality a concern in Douglas County as wildfire smoke reaches the metro

(Douglas County, NE) -- Wildfire smoke from Canada is causing unhealthy air conditions in the Omaha metro area.

The Douglas County Health Department says the smoke is expected to push the Air Quality Index into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category on Thursday and Friday. That condition will be shown as orange on maps featured at the Douglas County Health Department Air Quality Monitoring home page here.

DCHD says while the general public may only see a difference in what’s happening, the particulate matter in the air from these fires can create serious health issues for persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children. These conditions are expected to begin Thursday afternoon and last until at least Friday afternoon. Anyone who may be impacted by these conditions is advised to minimize outdoor activities during that time. The best way to monitor the situation would be to check the DCHD Air Quality Monitoring home page.

“This situation is unusual but not unheard of,” said Russ Hadan, Supervisor of Air Quality for DCHD. “The people who are affected by these conditions need to be aware of the changing conditions for their safety.”

DCHD also reminds residents that a heat advisory remains in effect for much of eastern Nebraska. It is recommended that people limit strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day, drink plenty of water to remain hydrated, limit or avoid alcohol consumption, wear sunscreen, seek as much shade as possible, wear light-colored and lightweight clothing, never leave children or pets unattended in a closed vehicle, and check on your elderly friends and neighbors.

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