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Minnesota Air Quality Alert: Canadian Wildfire Smoke

Is the air quality good in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s air quality ranged from “good” to “unhealthy for sensitive groups” on Friday morning, July 14. Authorities expect residents across the state to experience worsening air quality throughout the weekend (1)(2).

Air quality was poor in Red Lake Falls near Grand Forks and unhealthy across all of neighboring North Dakota Friday morning. Air quality was moderate in Minneapolis.

Are there any alerts in place?

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for the entire state from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon (3). There have been a record number of air quality alerts in Minnesota this year, highlighting the severity and frequency of the poor air quality events.

The air quality index readings are expected to be in the orange category on the U.S. Air Quality Index, indicating concentrations of pollutants in the “unhealthy air for sensitive groups” range.

Why is there an air quality alert in Minnesota?

The air quality alert is due to a cold front sweeping across the state, bringing in smoke from wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia. The smoke, currently located at high altitudes, is expected to descend to the surface as the cold front passes, leading to deteriorating air quality.

What is causing poor air quality in Minnesota?

The poor air quality is primarily due to wildfire smoke drifting southeast from Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. The smoke is coming into Minnesota by a cold front, which is pushing the smoke down to the surface from an altitude of 10,000 to 20,000 feet.

PM 2.5, particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is a common pollutant found in smoke. PM2.5 harmful for vulnerable groups such as individuals with asthma or other breathing conditions, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnant women, children, and the elderly.


How can I protect myself from poor air quality?

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