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Air Quality Alert Issues for South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) issued an air quality alert for areas across South Dakota where smoke from wildfires is forecasted to settle this week. The smoke may cause low visibility and increased fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution. The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) advises that these levels may be a concern to public health and provides additional resources to make an informed decision on personal healthcare choices.

The alert is in effect through Thursday, August 31, 2023, or until conditions improve.

Elderly citizens, young children, and individuals with respiratory problems are the most susceptible to the smoke. All people should avoid excessive physical exertion and minimize outdoor activities during periods of low visibility caused by the wildfire smoke. People are also encouraged to keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.

Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. Anyone concerned about health effects related to poor air quality should contact their health care provider.

DANR provides air quality data on the department’s website for several locations in South Dakota. Hourly PM2.5 values greater than 35 microgram per cubic meter (ug/m3) are a concern to public health.

Individuals may track the real time PM2.5 concentrations by visiting DANR’s website or Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website.

An explanation of the air quality index levels and their meaning can be found here.

For an easy-to-use outdoor activity and air quality guide created by the EPA click here.

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