Canadian wildfire smoke prompts air quality alert

MINNEAPOLIS - An air quality alert has been issued for southwest, western and central Minnesota, due to the smoke from Canadian wildfires.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the alert, effective through 6 a.m. Saturday, for the following areas: Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud and Worthington. Also impacted are the Tribal Nations of Mille Lacs and Upper Sioux.

According to a release, "Air pollution monitors are showing an increase in fine particles as thicker smoke moves north from northwest Iowa into the southwestern portion of Minnesota. Smoke will persist and move northward as southerly winds develop across western Minnesota. During this time, fine particle pollution is expected to remain at, or above, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups."

Those who may be more affected by unhealthy air quality, include people with asthma or other breathing conditions, those with heart disease or high blood pressure, children and seniors and those doing extended or heavy physical activity outdoors. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has the following tips to take precautions under this advisory ... 

• Take it easy and listen to your body.
• Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity level.
• If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.
• If you have asthma or other breathing conditions like COPD make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.
• People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider if you don’t have an asthma action plan. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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