The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Quality Alert for fine particle pollution in Central and South Minnesota. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach the Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category. Sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease(including asthma), heart disease, and children and older adults, may experience health effects. They should limit heavy exertion during the alert which will last from now until Friday at 3 pm.
Northerly winds behind a cold front will bring smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba into Minnesota. Heavy smoke is expected to arrive around mid-morning on Thursday in central and southern Minnesota. Smoke will remain over the area into Friday. During this time, fine particle levels are expected to be in the Orange AQI category, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Fine particle levels will 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 statewide.