MPCA outlines summer air quality & wildfire predictions

Looking back to 2022, air quality was good and there were minimal wildfires on record. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) published their outlook for this summer, and conditions are comparable.

The MPCA’s forecast covers the ozone, drought, and wildfires. Last year, MPCA meteorologists accurately predicted mild conditions for the summer, and Minnesota experienced no air quality alerts or local wildfire activity throughout the entire season. Experts are predicting a similar season in 2023.

The Agency says drought conditions have dramatically improved across the state, which will create lower ozone impacts. There is an overall risk for ozone this summer, with one to three air quality alert days expected, according to the MPCA.

The National Weather Service (NWS) took part in this forecasting, and says summer temperatures from June through August are expected to be statistically average.

There is an overall low risk for wildfire impacts in Minnesota, according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center and the National Interagency Fire Center. Experts say there will be an above-average risk of wildfires in the early summer, becoming an average risk by the end of the summer. A more-active fire season in Canada is also expected to send smoke over areas of the Northland, but the MPCA says they will monitor for possible impacts.

Air quality is reported on a color scale called the air quality index (AQI). When daily average fine-particle levels reach the orange category, the Agency says sensitive groups such as children, older adults, and those with respiratory conditions may feel the effects. Learn more on the MPCA’s Wildfire Smoke webpage.