Air quality alert begins again as smoke moves in

Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for all off the state through Friday night.

The air quality index is expected to reach the red, or unhealthy, category.

The alert is in place as heavy ground-level smoke from wildfires in the Northwest Territories of Canada moves south across central Canada and toward Minnesota.

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A strong cold front will bring the smoke across the entire state on Thursday. Smoke will reach the border around midnight Thursday, the Twin Cities around noon and southern Minnesota by 3 p.m.

The National Weather Service advises the smoke may be heavy and air quality may reach the unhealthy range for much of eastern Minnesota. Some members of the general public may experience health effects, along with sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease, asthma or heart disease, and children and older adults.

Smoke will linger across the eastern half of the state on Friday and fine particle levels will continue to be high for most of the day. It will begin to retreat by the end of the day on Friday.