Air Quality Alert in effect for Minnesota Thursday
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for the entire state of Minnesota. The alert will be in effect until 6 am Friday.
The alert was issued due to a band of very heavy ground-level smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan moving along a cold front in northwestern Minnesota Thursday morning.
The smoke will continue to move south and east and eventually impact the entire state of Minnesota. The smoke should clear rapidly overnight into Friday morning.
Fine particle levels are expected to reach the red air quality index (AQI) category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across all but far eastern Minnesota. This area includes Brainerd and the tribal
nations of Red Lake, Leech Lake, and Mille Lacs. In the red area, everyone should avoid prolonged time outdoors.
Fine particle levels are expected to reach the orange AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, across southeastern, northeastern, and far east central Minnesota. This area includes Duluth, Ely, International Falls, Two Harbors, and the tribal nations of Fond du Lac and Grand Portage. In the orange area, sensitive groups should avoid prolonged time outdoors.
Sensitive groups include:
- People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- People who have heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes
- Pregnant people
- Children and older adults
Potential health effects include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and fatigue. People in sensitive groups are encouraged to reduce outdoor physical activities, take more breaks, or do less intense activities to reduce exposure. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan and keep their rescue inhaler nearby.