The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reminds Kansans that mid-March through the end of April is the time when large areas of Flint Hills rangeland are burned. Well-planned and managed periodic burns can minimize fire safety danger and are an inexpensive tool for managing rangeland.
One outcome of prescribed burning is the release of a large amount of particulate matter that can be carried long distances to more populated areas if meterological conditions do not disperse the smoke.
People with asthma may experience aggravated symptoms. Individuals with pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children, and the elderly are most likely to be affected; however, even healthy individuals may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to elevated levels of smoke.
Steps can be taken to protect health on days when smoke is affecting the community.
- Healthy people should curtail or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
- People with heart or breathing-related illnesses should remain indoors.
- Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running the air conditioner on the “recirculate” setting.
- Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water.
- Contact your doctor if symptoms occur, such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue.