A cold front moving south through Minnesota tonight will draw wind, and a significant amount of Canadian wildfire smoke, into the state -- prompting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to issue an Air Quality Alert for most of the state in effect through Friday afternoon.

Minnesota PCA

Heavy smoke is expected to arrive mid-morning on Thursday here in central Minnesota. Smoke will remain over our area into Friday. Fine particle levels are expected to be in the Orange AQI category, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.


People who will be most likely affected by the reduced air quality include:

  • Those with asthma or other breathing conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • People who have heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Children and older adults
  • Those doing heavy, physical activity outdoors, such playing sports or working, especially for extended periods

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.

Minnesota PCA

The Minnesota PCA recommends the following precautions:

  • Take it easy and listen to your body.
  • Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity.
  • 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.

The air quality levels are expected to begin to improve Friday morning as southerly winds start moving the smoke out of the state. By Friday afternoon, air quality should improve below alert levels across the state.

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