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Air quality alert issued for northern Minnesota over Canadian wildfires

In a statement Monday afternoon, the MPCA said smoke from fires in Alberta and Saskatchewan will move east over Ontario overnight, pushing into Minnesota Tuesday.

MINNESOTA, USA — Smoke from Canadian wildfires prompted the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to preemptively announce an air quality alert for northern Minnesota beginning Tuesday, according to officials.

In a statement Monday afternoon, the agency said smoke from fires in Alberta and Saskatchewan will move east over Ontario overnight, pushing into Minnesota by 4 a.m. Tuesday.

While the MPCA says wind could drive smoke as far south as Hinckley and Alexandria, the northern half of Minnesota, including the tribal nations of Grand Portage, Fond du Lac, Leech Lake, Red Lake and Mille Lacs, will be primarily affected.

According to the MPCA, fine particle levels have the potential to reach the orange air quality index, meaning the air will be particularly unhealthy for sensitive groups — e.g., those with heart and lung disease, as well as people with cardiovascular and respiratory issues.

Those with sensitive health issues are advised to limit their time outdoors, take more breaks and generally reduce their exposure.

Hazy skies were visible as far south as the Twin Cities metro Tuesday morning. According to the National Weather Service, hazy conditions could continue through Wednesday.

MPCA said air quality is expected to improve throughout Tuesday afternoon. Currently, the alert runs through 4 p.m. although some smoke could still linger.

For more information, visit the MPCA's website.


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