Minnesota air quality alert begins for smoke from Canada

A wide swath of smoke extending from western Canada into northern Minnesota could lead to reduced air quality for northern portions of the state, health officials are warning.

According to the Minnesota Pollution and Control Agency (MPCA), smoke particles originating from northern British Columbia and Alberta have begun to reach northern parts of the US. Some of the smoke will remain aloft – meaning it will only create hazy skies overhead – but some of it has the potential to reduce air quality.

As a result, MPCA officials say that northern Minnesotans might begin experiencing a yellow – or a moderate – air quality index beginning Monday. At that level, unusually sensitive people are encouraged to reduce outdoor activity, and go inside if they have any sort of adverse symptoms.

Slow winds across the Dakotas will allow the smoke to hang around throughout the next few days before finally clearing.

You can check out the latest on the AirNow Fire and Smoke map.

There was a record number of air quality alerts last summer due to smoke from Canadian wildfires being carried into the state.