Canadian wildfires triggers Minnesota air quality alerts

- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issuing an air quality alert for southwest, western and central Minnesota, effective Friday, Sept. 1 beginning at 9 a.m. through 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2. MPCA air pollution monitors are showing an increase in fine particles as thicker smoke from Canadian wildfires moves across Minnesota.

This air quality alert does not cover the Twin Cities metro, but the metro is under a low-level advisory. The affected area includes residents of Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud and Worthington.

Also impacted are the Tribal Nations of Mille Lacs and Upper Sioux.
MPCA says smoke will continue to persist and move north as southerly winds develop across western Minnesota.

Showers and thunderstorms in western and northwestern Minnesota on Friday evening should help disperse smoke in some areas. By Saturday morning, most areas of smoke will be pushed south and dissipated.

People most affected by unhealthy air quality include:  People who have asthma or other breathing conditions, people who have heart disease or high blood pressure, children and older adults, and people of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.

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.

Precautions

Take it easy and listen to your body.

Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity level.

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. 

Pollution reduction tips

Reduce vehicle trips.

Encourage use of public transport, or carpool, when possible.

Postpone use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days. Use battery or manual equipment instead.

Avoid burning wood.

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