Smoke from Kentucky wildfires creating health concerns

WATCH | Smoke from Kentucky wildfires creating health concerns
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 8:31 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington fire officials confirm that smoke from wildfires in Estill County is creating a haze in Fayette County.

Tuesday, a State of Emergency was declared in Estill County due to the growing fires near Pitts Road.

Several viewers have reported seeing haze and strong smells of smoke in various parts of Lexington.

Captain Jessica Bowman with the Lexington Fire Department told WKYT that the smell of smoke throughout the city is not related to any active incidents in Lexington.

She says a burn ban will be issued in Fayette County on Wednesday. People should avoid setting any fire outdoors until after the ban expires. This includes refuse, cooking, and construction debris fires. All open burn permits are also suspended for the duration of the ban. The ban applies to all residents and businesses in Fayette County, including those in rural and urban areas.

We’re told the Lexington Fire Department also sent an eight-member task force to help with the fire in the Ravenna area of Estill County.

More people might be experiencing breathing problems because of the air quality. The smoke in the air is an irritant and doctors tell us there are ways to ease the irritation people might have.

There are saline nose sprays, and cough drops for more moisturization. Doctors say if you have asthma or chronic lung disease this smoke can be more detrimental to you.

Lexington Physician Dr. Jeff Foxx says with the poor air quality, it is best to avoid being outdoors for the time being regardless of your health status.

“You don’t really have to have a medical problem to be affected by it,” said Dr. Foxx. “It’s an irritant it can create scratchy eyes, give you the runny nose, give you scratchy, irritated throat, and pass on down to the lungs with cough and congestion.”

Fayette County Public Schools recommended school leaders keep students with asthma and other respiratory conditions from going outside Wednesday because of the smoke. The district said nurses were also aware of the heightened risk and were prepared to assist students.

The National Weather Service listed ‘smoke’ as a hazardous weather condition at Blue Grass Airport.