Kansas prairie burns lower air quality in Missouri

Saturday, April 11, 2009 | 3:24 p.m. CDT; updated 5:11 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 11, 2009

KANSAS CITY — The annual tradition of burning the prairie in Kansas this spring has pushed air quality levels below federal standards in Kansas City and Wichita.

An ozone monitor in Johnson County this week registered a level of 79 parts per billion, while a monitor in Wichita registered 95 parts per billion. The federal standard is 75 parts per billion.

Tom Gross with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the smoke that passed through the region has filtered all the way through Missouri to Tennessee and Kentucky.

Many ranchers burn prairies to control weeds and the state tries to keep the burns staggered to limit the amount of smoke at any one time.

Gross said it's not a good sign that the area has busted federal standards so early in the burning season.


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