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Information Related to Controlled Burning and Wildfires that Can Impact Nebraska’s Air Quality



The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Department of Health, the Douglas County Health Department and support from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is providing the latest forecasts and information regarding the impact prescribed fires and wildfires have on air quality. There are a multitude of variables that factor into any prediction, to name a few: the weather; the number of acres being burned; and the fuel load on those acres. Information will be provided on the DHHS website when it appears air quality may be compromised. Additional information can be found at the the Flint Hills Smoke Management Association web page Smoke Model forecast.*

On April 10, 2018, Nebraska DHHS announced a public smoke advisory system which was developed in coordination with NDEE, Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department and Douglas County Health Department. The following year and in March 2020, DHHS issued news releases about the activation of the system: "DHHS Activates Smoke Advisory System for Flint Hills Burns." *

Updated advisories will be posted on this web page through the 2020 burn season.

Updated information – October 7, 2020 – The National Weather Service Cheyenne Wyoming and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued an Air Quality Alert affecting the Panhandle area of Nebraska from October 6-7. Under these conditions, sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

Updated information – September 17, 2020 – DHHS/NDEE have issued a smoke advisory from September 16-18, 2020. Link to Press Release*

Updated information – August 24, 2020 – DHHS/NDEE have issued a smoke advisory for western Nebraska from August 24-26, 2020. Link to Press Release *

Updated information – April 17 2020 – DHHS/NDEE have issued a smoke advisory for southeast Nebraska from the afternoon of April 18 through the morning of Sunday, April 19, 2020. Link to Press Release *

Updated information – April 10 2020 – DHHS/NDEE have issued a smoke advisory for south central and southeast Nebraska the evening of April 10 through Saturday, April 11. Link to Press Release *

Updated information – April 6, 2020 – DHHS/NDEE have issued a smoke advisory for southeast Nebraska the evening of April 6 through the morning of April 7. Link to Press Release *

AirNow: For current conditions of Nebraska’s Air Quality and tomorrow’s forecast, go to NDEE’s link to federal AirNow web site pages:


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Smoke Outlook
(This information was
last updated April 13 2020.)

Monday, April 13:
Northwesterly winds will carry smoke from potential fires in the far northeastern Flint Hills into Topeka. Farther south, northeasterly winds will develop in the afternoon and evening, transporting smoke from potential fires in the central Flint Hills into Wichita.

Tuesday, April 14:
Calm to light winds early in the day will reduce dispersion, allowing smoke to accumulate in areas near fires. In addition, smoke will gradually be transported from potential fires in the counties around Wichita into Wichita. As winds shift to westerly in the afternoon, smoke from potential fires in the northern Flint Hills will be carried into Topeka and Kansas City.

Daily and Weekly Updates: To view daily updated maps and forecasts in the Flint Hills region, select Access Smoke Model.* The Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management website also provides summary updates that are posted weekly through the prescribed burn season. Click here to view the Weekly Updates. *

Smoke Awareness in Nebraska: For more information about burning activities in Flint Hills and their potential impacts in Nebraska, visit NDEE’s main Smoke Awareness Page

Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan: For more detailed information about the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, go to www.ksfire.org. *

Daily Updates: To view daily updated maps and forecasts in the Flint Hills region, select Access Smoke Model.*

Facebook Connection: Frequent updates can also be found at the KS Flint Hills Smoke Management Facebook page, located at https://www.facebook.com/ksfire *


* This document contains links to non-NDEE websites; these links will open in a new tab or window.