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 fire.airnow.gov. 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.
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.