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The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on Friday issued a health advisory for sensitive populations because of smoke from agricultural and prescribed burning.

Officials said the levels of smoke in the air are expected to be unhealthy for children, older adults and those with asthma, lung disease, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

The department advised those at risk to reduce strenuous physical activity when outdoors and watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

Gary Bergstrom, Air Quality Supervisor for the health department, said south winds combined with widespread burning activity in the Flint Hills area of Kansas has resulted in levels of smoke in the air that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

He said the forecast indicated the impacts to the Lincoln area are likely to subside by Saturday afternoon.

The health department monitors air quality 24 hours a day, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air) is updated hourly.

The AQI is now coded orange, which means the air quality is unhealthy for individuals with higher sensitivity to air pollution.

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