UNDATED -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert effective until 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 27, for Pine, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Chisago, Isanti, Benton, Morrison, Stearns, Sherburne, and Mille Lacs Counties.

The affected area includes St. Cloud, Brainerd, Hinckley, Rush City, Aitkin, Mora, and the tribal Nation of Mille Lacs.

The previous air quality alert continues until 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27, for St. Louis, Carlton, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and Cook Counties.

The affected area includes Duluth, Cloquet, Hibbing, International Falls, Grand Rapids, Ely, Virginia, Hoyt Lakes, Babbitt, Isabella, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Grand Marais, and the tribal Nations of Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Red Lake, Mille Lacs, and Fond du Lac.

The Greenwood fire continues to burn in the Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota. The fire is located near Greenwood Lake, or approximately 15 miles southwest of Isabella. The fire is estimated to be 26,000 acres with no containment. In addition to the Greenwood fire, fires just across the border in the Canadian Quetico Provincial Park continue to burn with no containment and will also contribute to smoke concentrations.

Further expansion of the Greenwood Fire is expected Thursday and smoke will impact all of northeastern Minnesota as winds turn from the northwest to the northeast and eventually east by Friday.

Surface smoke has also impacted east central Minnesota Thursday and is expected to persist until Friday morning.

The Air Quality Alert is expanded further south to include Pine, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Chisago, Isanti, Benton, Morrison, and Mille Lacs Counties. Smoke is expected to clear this area by 9 a.m. Friday.

 

Sensitive groups whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality:  There are people who are more likely to be affected when fine particle pollution reaches an unhealthy level.

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • People who have heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Children and older adults.
  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.
  • People who don’t have air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollution.

Health effects: 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.

 

 

For information on current air quality conditions in your area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications by email, text message, phone, or the Minnesota Air mobile app, visit MPCA’s Air Quality Index webpage. You can find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality at Air Quality and Health webpage.