Air Quality Alert issued for northern Minnesota in effect Tuesday

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for northern Minnesota. The alert will be in effect from 4 am to 4 pm Tuesday.

The alert was issued due to wildfire smoke that will move into the area late Monday night. Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan is currently moving east across Ontario. As a cold front moves south overnight, it will pull smoke into the upper atmosphere of northern Minnesota. Sinking air behind the front will bring the smoke to the surface.

By Tuesday afternoon, northerly winds will push the smoke as far south as Hinckley and Alexandria. Air quality in northeast Minnesota should gradually improve in the afternoon, but some smoke may linger in northwest Minnesota through Tuesday.

This Air Quality Alert is for an expected Air Quality Index in the Orange category, which is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. 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.