- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued an air quality advisory due to annual controlled burning in the Flint Hills.

The agency is advising residents to take precautions because heavy smoke could spread across the state.

Though the weather is good for range burning, it could put higher levels of pollutants in the air, according to the agency.

“One outcome of the (controlled) burns is the release of a large amount of particulate matter and substances that can form ozone in the air during a relatively short time period,” the agency’s advisory said.

Particles in the smoke from controlled burns can cause burning eyes, running nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis.

The agency recommends that people should avoid strenuous outdoor exercise, keep doors and windows closed, and drink lots of water. It recommends that people with heart or breathing-related illnesses remain indoors.

Controlled burns are necessary to control invasive plant species, such as sumac and Eastern red cedar, and to provide better forage for cattle, the agency said.

The air quality advisory is effective through Thursday.

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