Smoke Advisory System Activated for 2024

News Release
For Immediate Release: 2/27/2024

Amanda Woita, Department of Environment and Energy, (402) 471-4243,
Allan Urlis, APR, Office of Communications, (402) 432-1532,


Lincoln – Nebraska's Smoke Advisory System has been activated for 2024.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services implemented the public smoke advisory system in 2018. Smoke advisories will be issued when conditions make it likely that the smoke from prescribed burning or wildfires could significantly affect air quality in parts of the state.

The DHHS reminds Nebraskans that prescribed burning season is underway in Kansas, Oklahoma and other states in the region, including Nebraska. Smoke from wildfires in the west and Canada, which have occurred often in the recent past, also can compromise the air quality in Nebraska.

Advisories are developed in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), DHHS, local health departments and districts, and information provided by other sources in the region.  

Impacts on air quality may vary based on the type, size, and location of fires. Impacts from prescribed burning may only last a few hours. Wildfire smoke can be persistent over consecutive days. Many factors, including weather conditions, affect the magnitude and duration of air quality impacts. 

If state and local agencies determine that smoke is likely to significantly impact the air quality in Nebraska, DHHS and NDEE will issue a joint advisory to share the information with the public. Advisories will be based on data provided by multiple sources in the region including the National Weather Service, as well as smoke plume modeling and data from air quality monitors located in Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln, Beatrice, Grand Island, and Scottsbluff. Advisories will be posted on the NDEE website at, the DHHS website at and on NDEE and DHHS Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In addition to advisories from DHHS and NDEE, the Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department and the Douglas County Health Department may also issue information to advise citizens of air quality impacts in their jurisdictions.

Smoke can cause health problems, including burning eyes, runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis. Individuals with respiratory issues, such as asthma or COPD, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, along with children and the elderly may experience more severe symptoms.

How Nebraskans can protect their health on days when smoke is present in their communities:

  • Keep doors and windows closed and run air conditioners with HEPA filters.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart-related illnesses should remain indoors.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue.

For current conditions of Nebraska's air quality and tomorrow's forecast, visit:

AirNow is a tool that uses the Air Quality Index (AQI) to report air conditions across the country. The AQI uses the following color chart to quickly communicate air quality:

Air Quality Index

For more information on smoke awareness, visit NDEE's website at  

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