DNR monitoring air quality due to smoke from Minn. fire

The Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services released the following information regarding smoke that has been detectable throughout Kenosha County today:

The smoke is from the Pagami Creek Fire, which is burning about 15 miles east of Ely, Minnesota, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As of Tuesday morning, the fire was more than 60,000 acres in size. It grew 50,000 acres Sept. 12, the result of a 16-mile run in strong westerly winds. The fire started on Aug. 18 from a lightning strike and had grown to about 2,500 acres as of Sept. 10. Strong winds in the last few days have turned it into a significant fire with a large smoke column. It is expected to grow even more given strong northwesterly winds today.
DHS is aware of this smoke incident and is working with local health departments. DNR is monitoring data coming in hourly as well as meteorological conditions to see if smoke from this fire will impact Wisconsin again in the coming days.

In healthy people, symptoms of smoke exposure usually include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, or breathing discomfort.  More severe symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Smoke exposure, even from temporary peaks in fine particles, can aggravate chronic lung or cardiovascular disease. Depending on concentrations and an individual’s sensitivity to smoke, actions to take include remaining indoors with the doors and windows closed, using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on air conditioners, reducing other sources of indoor air pollution, such as smoking cigarettes, and leaving the area if an individual has particular sensitivity. More information is available in a DNR Bureau of Air Management Air News update for Sept. 13. Listen for news updates on the smoke in your area. Continue to follow all precautions and instructions given by local health and governmental departments. With cold air pouring in from the north over the next few days, Wisconsin residents will probably smell smoke for most of the week.

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