Canadian wildfires causing air quality concerns in Minnesota

Published 9:27 am Friday, July 30, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — An air quality alert remained in effect for most of Minnesota as the state deals with smoke from Canadian wildfires that has created some of the highest particulate readings on record.

Gov. Tim Walz and several other governors plan to talk virtually Friday with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris about the nation’s growing wildfire crisis.

On Thursday, much of Minnesota was dealing with air so smoky that it blocked out the sun.

Three wildfires in Quetico Provincial Park could spread into Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Crooked and Iron lakes, according to U.S. Forest Service officials at the Superior National Forest, the Star Tribune reported.

Walz said Thursday that he was grateful Friday’s meeting will be focused on the wildfires and their impact.

“We’re living on pins and needles with the Boundary Waters,” he said.

People in rural Minnesota understand “that this climate thing is real,” Walz said.

“I really do think if anything else with these wildfires and the drought, it’s putting this just insane debate whether climate (change) is real or not, it doesn’t even matter to these people, the climate change debate,” Walz said. “It’s happening, they see it; what are we going to do about it? So that’s what I’m going to convey.”

Minnesota and some of its neighboring states are also dealing with a worsening drought.