Smoke from Canadian wildfires prompts air quality alert for Twin Cities metro, southern MN

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for the Twin Cities metro, southwest and south central Minnesota due to smoke in the air from wildfires in northern Canada. 

The air quality alert is in effect 12-9 p.m. Friday. 

The MPCA said sun and hot temperatures on Friday will cause the pollutants from the wildfire smoke to react in the air to produce high levels of ground-level ozone. Smoke from the wildfires made for hazy skies in the metro over the last few days. 

The air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including people who have asthma or other breathing conditions, children and teenagers, people who are working or playing sports outdoors and people who may be genetically more sentitive to ozone. 

Officials are advising everyone to take certain precautions when the air quality is unhealthy, such as taking it easy, limiting physical activity outdoors, staying away from sources of air pollition like busy roads and wood fires. People with asthma should keep their inhaler with them. 

The public is also asked to help reduce air pollution on air alert days by reducing vehicle trips, postponing the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment and avoiding backyard fires.