Air quality alert issued for northwestern Minnesota due to wildfires

Air quality map. (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) (Supplied)

Wildfires in Canada triggered an air quality alert for portions of northwest Minnesota starting Tuesday morning. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued an alert from 6. a.m. on Tuesday until 9 a.m. on Wednesday for Alexandria, Ortonville, Bemidji, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Roseau, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake and Red Lake.

The alert is due to a strong low-pressure system moving across central Minnesota with northerly winds pulling Canadian wildfire smoke into the state. 

"The smoke will reach the state by 6 a.m. Tuesday and will impact northwest Minnesota through the end of the day. The frontal boundary over the state will keep smoke limited to this area for much of the day. As the system moves east, smoke is expected to reach southwest Minnesota around 4 p.m. Tuesday. Winds will become westerly, and smoke may progress eastward across southern Minnesota overnight. Smoke may also move into northeast Minnesota Tuesday evening as well," MPCA said. 

The Air Quality Index (AQI) will reach the orange category, meaning it’s unhealthy for sensitive groups, and people should consider limiting their time outdoors. 

The smoke from the wildfires should clear out on Wednesday as northwest winds move through the state. Air quality will improve in the morning in northern Minnesota and in the afternoon for the south.  

Visit MPCA’s air quality alert page for more information on current air quality conditions.