2011 Sept. 13: WI DNR Air News: (Wildfire in MN) Smoke Complaints – Eastern Wisconsin

2011 Sept. 13: WI DNR Air News: (Wildfire in MN) Smoke Complaints – Eastern Wisconsin

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are receiving numerous calls from local health departments and citizens in eastern Wisconsin about heavy smoke odors, ash and concerns about smoke inhalation. The smoke moving through the area is from a large wild fire in Pagami Creek, MN. A satellite image of the smoke plume can be seen here.

  • Short-term, elevated fine particle (PM2.5) values were noted overnight on the Forest County PM2.5 monitor; the smoke plume has now moved south and east.
  • DNR issues PM2.5 advisories when the 24-hour standard (an average of hourly measurements) is exceeded. DNR monitors are showing hourly peaks above the standard, but the 24-hour average is not being exceeded so no advisories have been issued. From the perspective of DNR, temporary peaks in PM2.5 can cause problems in sensitive individuals (those with chronic lung or cardiovascular disease) even if the 24-hour standard has not been exceeded.
  • DNR is monitoring the values and aware of this smoke incident and will issue advisories if necessary.
  • DHS is aware of this smoke incident and working with local health departments and the DNR to get information out to the public.
  • In healthy people, symptoms of smoke exposure usually include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, or breathing discomfort, and more severe symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Smoke exposure can aggravate chronic lung or cardiovascular disease.
  • Depending on the smoke 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 and leaving the area if an individual has particular sensitivity.

Listen for news updates on the smoke in your area. Continue to follow all precautions and instructions given by local health and governmental departments.

Contacts

Primary contact: Dr. Rob Thiboldeaux, DHS (608) 267-6844

Email: Robert.thiboldeaux

Other: Bart Sponseller, DNR (608) 266-1058

Email: bart.sponseller

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