Minnesota air quality alert Friday, Saturday; wildfire smoke returning

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

An air quality alert has been issued for all of Minnesota from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon as another wave of wildfire smoke from Canada is expected to send air quality across the state into the unhealthy range.

Air quality across the region was good on Thursday, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported that a cold front is set to sweep across the state on Friday, bringing in smoke from wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia.

“That smoke will travel behind a cold front and that cold front will push smoke that’s currently 10,000 to 20,000 feet up into the atmosphere down to the surface, and that’s why we’ve issued that air quality alert,” said Matt Taraldsen, a supervisory meteorologist with the MPCA.

Email newsletter signup

Fine-particle levels are expected to reach the orange air quality index category, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, the agency added.

Sensitive groups include people with asthma or other breathing conditions, heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes; people who are pregnant; and children and the elderly. They’re advised to limit time outside and limit heavy exertion while the air quality alert is in effect.

To limit pollution and its effects during the alert, the MPCA suggested reducing or eliminating outdoor burning; reducing vehicle trips and vehicle idling as much as possible; and keeping windows closed.

Minnesota’s seen a record number of air quality alerts this year.