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Air quality alert: Smoke from Canada wildfires spreading across Minn.

MPCA graphic via https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a statewide air quality alert due to smoke spreading across northern Minnesota Friday, Aug. 10, and southern Minnesota on Saturday, Aug. 11.

Smoke from wildfires in western Canada will continue to affect Minnesota Friday afternoon and evening. A thick blanket of smoke is expected to arrive in the upper-levels of the atmosphere this afternoon and evening across southern parts of the state. Smoke is expected to impact air quality from St Cloud, to the Twin Cities and Rochester starting around midday Saturday. Periods of smoke and Air Quality Indices in the orange category will linger over the state Saturday night before a south wind brings in cleaner air by Sunday afternoon. 

Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider. 

MPCA offers these precautionary measures:

  • 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. 

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For more information on Air Quality Alerts and what you can do to prevent air pollution, visit the MPCA website at www.pca.state.mn.us.