SOUTH DAKOTA - Meteorological conditions are causing smoke from fires in several western states and Canada to impact air quality in South Dakota. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommends you visit South Dakota’s Real Time Air Quality Index map at http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aarealtime.aspx to see if smoke is currently impacting your area. Regional air quality data is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site at www.airnow.gov.
Western South Dakota was impacted Labor Day weekend when winds pushed smoke from the fires east to South Dakota. Air quality monitoring sites in Rapid City, Wind Cave and the Badlands indicated the 24-hour air quality standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter was exceeded several times from Friday to Sunday. The highest reading was 71.4 micrograms per cubic meter on Sunday at Wind Cave. Strong winds on Monday moved the heavy smoke conditions out of the state.
The department says air quality conditions will vary until the fires can be put out and encourages the public to visit the websites to determine if air quality in your area is reaching unhealthy levels.
Everyone may experience some effects during unhealthy levels. Sensitive groups generally include children, older adults and people with lung diseases.