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Information Related to Prescribed 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 are 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 smoke advisory prediction: the weather, the number of acres being burned and the fuel load on those acres, to name a few. A news release will be provided on the DHHS website when air quality impacts are anticipated. Additional information can be found at 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. In each subsequent year, DHHS has issued news releases about the activation of the system: "Smoke Advisory System Activated for 2022 Flint Hills Prescribed Burns." *

Updated information: On April 11, 2022, a health advisory was issued by DHHS and NDEE for southcentral Nebraska beginning in the evening on April 11, 2022, through April 12, 2022.

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 11, 2022.)

Saturday, March 26: Surface high pressure north of Kansas will generate light to moderate easterly winds. These winds will transport smoke from potential fires in the south-central Flint Hills into Wichita.

Sunday, March 27: As surface high pressure remains north of the state, easterly winds will strengthen. While these winds will aid dispersion, they will also continue to carry smoke from potential fires in the south-central Flint Hills into Wichita.


Tuesday, April 5: As a cold front moves through eastern Kansas, moderate southerly winds will shift to northwesterly in the afternoon and evening, carrying smoke from potential fires in the northern Flint Hills into Topeka. Furthermore, smoke from potential fires in northwestern Sedgwick County will be transported into Wichita.

Wednesday, April 6: Moderate and gusty northwesterly winds behind the departing cold front will disperse smoke from potential fires in the Flint Hills and transport it away from major metropolitan areas.

Saturday, April 9: A low pressure system approaching from the northwest will generate moderate south-southeasterly winds in eastern Kansas. These winds will transport smoke from potential fires in the southwestern Flint Hills into Wichita. In addition, smoke from potential fires in the northeastern Flint Hills will be carried into Topeka and farther along into Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sunday, April 10: Westerly winds will transport smoke from potential fires in the northern Flint Hills into Topeka and Kansas City during the day as a cold front moves into the region. As the front stalls across the southern Flint Hills during the evening and overnight, northeasterly to easterly winds will carry smoke from the west-central to southwestern Flint Hills into Wichita.

Tuesday, April 12: As a low pressure system moves into western Kansas and southern Nebraska, strong and gusty southerly winds will increase mixing and dispersion, reducing smoke impacts in affected regions. However, these winds will transport smoke from potential fires in the eastern Flint Hills into Topeka and farther along into Omaha. In addition, smoke from potential fires in Riley County will impact Lincoln.

Wednesday, April 13: Moderate northwesterly winds behind a departing cold front will shift to westerly in the afternoon and evening as surface high pressure passes to the south. These winds will transport smoke from potential fires in the northern Flint Hills 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 Weekly Updates from Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management. *

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. *

Facebook Connection: Frequent updates can also be found at the KS Flint Hills Smoke Management Facebook page. NDEE also posts frequent air quality updates on its Facebook and Twitter pages during prescribed burning season. *

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