Smoky skies in the Ozarks coming from controlled burns; how it affects you

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:46 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many of you have called us about the smoky skies across the Ozarks in the past week.

Dozens of phone calls are flooding dispatch. Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt says the smoke is coming from multiple controlled burns. The U.S. Forest Service also did multiple prescribed burns throughout the weekend, adding to the smoke plumes.

“They burn off the leaves or ground litter in the woods to reduce the threat of a wildfire being extreme and doing damage to the trees,” said Chief Berndt.

We asked the department of natural resources office in Springfield about any potential health or environmental concerns from the smoke.

“Normally in Missouri, we range in the good the moderate area, but sometimes in the summer times it might get to the unhealthy for sensitive groups,” said Turner. “If air quality is in the orange category, people with compromised respiratory systems might want to stay inside and wear a mask.”

Tayna Turner with DNR says it’s all about air quality, and you can check where burns are happening and the level of smoke in the air if you click HERE.

Turner says the controlled burns are crucial to preventing destructive wildfires, and the work happening now is nothing unusual.

“It’s something that’s necessary that needs to be done,” said Turner. “We monitor the air quality to try and give you the best information we can of whether or not you should go outside or stay inside.”

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