WICHITA, Kan. -

If you saw or smelled smoke in the Wichita area this weekend - don't be alarmed. It's actually pretty normal in Kansas this time of year.

While the smoke was caused by a fire, it wasn't in the Wichita area. The flames were actually part of a controlled burning happening south of Wichita. Farmers and ranchers across the area typically perform these prescribed burns during March and April as a way to manage rangeland, provide better forage for cattle and minimize wildfire risk.

Typically, those burns happen during the day and you probably wouldn't notice the smoke as much. But if a burn happens at night, there's a much better chance that it will cause an inversion, which is where smoke gets trapped in the low levels of the atmosphere. That's what happened in Wichita this weekend.

Eyewitness News fielded a lot of calls and questions from viewers about why the smoke was so bad Saturday night. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said they, too, get questions from residents every year around this time.

"As the day progresses and the lower levels at the atmosphere heat, that inversion will go away which is typically a few hours after sunrise," said NWS meteorologist Robb Lawson. "Which is why that is a prime time for burning during the day because the smoke will disperse much higher in the atmosphere which would be much less effect on us."

Cloudy conditions can also keep smoke from dispersing up higher into the atmosphere, keeping it low to the ground. Doctors recommend anyone with breathing trouble or other respiratory conditions stay indoors during times when the smoke blows into the area.