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The university is monitoring the air quality in the area due to the smoke associated with the mulch fire just northwest of campus.

The Knox County Health Department changed the air quality status yesterday from orange, unhealthy for sensitive people, to red, which means unhealthy for everyone.

The situation could impact the air quality on campus for the next couple of days, depending on prevailing winds or weather conditions. Prolonged or heavy physical activity should be considered until the air quality improves.

Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms should consult their immediate supervisor and their physician. Students experiencing symptoms should contact the Student Health Center at 974-3135 or their personal, family physician.

Facilities Services has taken steps to revise the controls on HVAC air handling systems to ensure that buildings are recycling indoor air and not circulating outside air—with exceptions in some research facilities where codes require other procedures.

The Knox County Health Department follows the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for air quality status. The department stated that the smoke is wood smoke and does not contain toxins.

We will continue to monitor the situation and advise the campus of any changes to normal operations. If you have questions, please call Environmental Health and Safety at 865 974-5084.