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Smoke from EKY fires could cause problems for those with respiratory illnesses in central KY

Estill County Emergency Management Agency
Estill County EMA Facebook
Smoke from wildfires in Estill County

Residents of Fayette County have noticed smoky conditions the past few days. A pair of fires in Estill County has caused a great deal smoke to spread across central Kentucky. This could be a cause for concern for those with respiratory illnesses.

Dr. David Mannino is a pulmonary physician at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He said smoke from these fires is just like regular air pollution, and it can impact anyone.

“Even people without known lung disease can be affected by it because it is, in fact, is a respiratory irritant. It’s similar to people who walk into a smoke-filled room, it is the same type of air pollution exposure.”

He says smoke like this can make matters worse for those with chronic illnesses.

“Exposure to air pollutants, such as this type of smoke, can cause an increase in symptoms such as more shortness of breath or wheezing. Sometimes it can cause a more severe worsening that we refer to as an exacerbation or a flare up.”

Mannino says anyone with a respiratory illness should stay indoors while the smoke is present. He says wearing a paper mask or an N-95 style mask could help if they must go outdoors. Officials with the National Weather Service says a high-pressure system is moving the wind and pushing the smoke west towards central Kentucky.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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