Smoke from Canadian wildfires prompts Air Quality Alert for western Minnesota

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for western Minnesota due to smoke from wildfires in Canada. 

The Air Quality Alert will be in effect from Thursday at 2 p.m. through Saturday at 10 a.m. The affected area includes Worthington, Marshall, Ortonville, Alexandria, Moorhead, East Grand Forks, Roseau and Bemidji and the tribal nations of Red Lake, Leech Lake and Upper Sioux. 

Smoke has cleared from the northern portion of the state and is now moving into other areas. The smoke reached the Twin Cities metro and southeastern Minnesota as of Thursday morning and is expected to mix down to the ground by midday. 

People who have asthma or other breathing conditions, heart disease or high blood pressure, children and older adults and people who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outside are most likely to be affected by the smoke. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said periods of smoke are expected to continue into at least Saturday morning, but are expected to improve by Sunday when winds switch to the south, carrying the smoke back to Canada.