Lawrence’s air quality is currently unhealthy because of wildfires

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Post updated at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7:

Lawrence currently has unhealthy air quality because of wildfires more than 1,000 miles away.

“Northwest winds aloft are bringing down smoke from wildfires in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. This has brought our air quality into the unhealthy category,” according to the National Weather Service in Topeka.

The Air Quality Index, or AQI, in some area of Lawrence was up to 159 as of Thursday afternoon, according to sensors recorded on Higher numbers indicate worse air quality; an AQI of 200 to 300 is considered very unhealthy.

That number indicates the air is unhealthy. Members of the general public may experience some health effects and should keep outdoor activities short and light, according to AirNow; children, older adults and people who have heart or lung disease may be at greater risk and should consider moving all activities indoors.

This map shows air quality index markers around Lawrence and Kansas the afternoon of Sept. 7, 2023. (Screenshot,

Much of Kansas, and many states to the north and west, are also within the extent of smoke plumes, according to AirNow.

Staff members at Lawrence Public Schools are following precautions with after-school outdoor activities, including taking more breaks, lessening intensity of activities, watching for symptoms of respiratory issues, and recommending that students with asthma follow their asthma action plans and keep their quick-relief medicine handy, according to an announcement on the district’s website.

“As is always the case, families may make decisions regarding their children’s participation in activities,” the announcement states.

Some relief is possible Friday afternoon or evening, according to Douglas County Emergency Management.

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Severe weather resources

National Weather Service local office (Topeka):
 Find the latest weather forecast info and severe weather advisories for the Lawrence area at this link.

 Call 785-234-2592 to hear the forecast.

The NWS is also on Twitter, @NWSTopeka, and Facebook,

Douglas County Emergency Management:
Follow @DgCoEM on Twitter or Douglas County, KS- Emergency Management on Facebook,

Sign up to receive emergency alerts at

Find lots of tips on severe weather and other emergency preparedness on DgCoEM’s website at

Report storm damage (for non-emergencies only, and after storm danger has passed) via this form.

Evergy outages:
Check the status of power outages on the Evergy outage map,

Report a power outage at, or call 800-544-4857.

City of Lawrence snow info:
The city has snow information and a map at that shows information about road conditions and snow plow locations. The city typically begins snow and ice control for residential roadways when 2 or more inches of snowfall or icing occurs.

Air quality:
Check the current air quality index in Lawrence and elsewhere through AirNow,

Latest Lawrence news:


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