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Blue Angels grounded by thick smoke blanketing area

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Travis and son Andrew Landon watch aerial performance during the Guardians of Freedom Air Show on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at the Lincoln Municipal Airfield.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department issued a health advisory Saturday for people with certain health complications because of heavy smoke from forest fires in northern Minnesota and the massive wildfires in Alberta, Canada.

The smoke also grounded the Blue Angels on Saturday afternoon about 30 minutes after the health advisory was announced. After meeting for almost an hour, officials at the Guardians of Freedom Air Show deemed the haze too thick and visibility too low to allow the Blue Angels to fly.

Barb Mayes of the National Weather Service said there is still lingering smoke in the area, but it should be clearer by Sunday. As of Saturday night, she said there was reduced visibility in Omaha and Lincoln.

“The wind direction will not favor the smoke plume being pulled into our area (overnight),” Mayes said. “It does look like things should be better by Sunday.

Chris Schroeder, air quality supervisor with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, said when the tiny particles and gases in smoke are breathed into the lungs they can cause asthma attacks, worsen chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cause angina in some people with heart disease.

On Saturday, residents were advised to keep windows and doors closed and use the “re-circulate” setting when using a vehicle air conditioner.

Jason St. Sauver, community education director with Audubon Nebraska said that whenever they’re burning their prairies, he just advises people to stay inside when possible.

“If you don’t have to have your windows open, don’t,” St. Sauver said. “If you have asthma you definitely don’t wanna breathe that in. But keeping hydrated and breathing through your nose helps your body filter it better.”

Journal Star intern Vanessa Daves contributed to this story.

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