Smoke from wildfires out west reached the state of Iowa

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 8:59 AM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - An air quality alert has expired for the state of Iowa after wildfires from the west coast caused smoke to travel to the midwest.

Sean Fitzsimmons, who is The Environmental Specialist Senior in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Bureau, says smoke reached Iowa Friday morning at sunrise.

“We were getting high levels on the monitor. we had a forecast that said the smoke would descend southerly through Iowa, hitting Des Moines around midnight and the southern part of the state around dawn.”

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the air quality index reached code orange which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

That group, in particular, includes older adults, children, and people with heart and lung disease.

Fitzsimmons says this level can trigger certain medical problems.

“As far as the way it can affect the health of people, it can trigger lung problems like asthma attacks. It can trigger C.O.P.D., exacerbation. As far as heart conditions go, pulmonary problems. If there are pulmonary problems and people are having a hard time breathing then it can cause problems there too.”

According to AirNow.Gov, if you find yourself in unhealthy air conditions you should take more breaks, do less intense activities, and if you have asthma, keep quick-relief medicine handy.

To monitor air quality in your area, visit or download KYOU’s First Alert Forecast app.

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