Canadian wildfires alter Missouri skies

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri skies have looked noticeably different over the last few days. The haziness of the sky throughout much of the Midwest is due to wildfires all the way out in Canada.

The smoke originated in northern Saskatchewan due to multiple wildfires caused by drought and extreme temperatures. High winds then carried the smoke south where most of it resided over the Midwest.

The inclement weather forced Iowa and Nebraska health departments to issue public health warnings. According to the Associated Press, people were urged to refrain from exercising outdoors in those areas. 

The haze could be particularly dangerous for people with pre-existing health conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory issues.

All smoke contains carbon monoxide and other harmful components. Symptoms of short-term exposure can include, but are not limited to, shortness of breath, loss of alertness and headaches.

Long-term exposure can lead to cancer and chronic cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Anyone with any of the symptoms mentioned above should seek immediate medical attention. However, though this has been a problem in other areas, there is no significant risk for Missourians.

"In Missouri the smoke is high enough in the sky that it isn't reaching the surface. Missourians won't have health problems because of the smoky skies," KOMU 8 Weathercaster Kenton Gewecke said.