Air Quality Alert in effect until Friday morning

(ABC 6 News) – Smoke from wildfires burning in Canada will once again lead to unhealthy air quality for a large region of central and southern Minnesota until Friday morning.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an Air Quality Alert until 6:00 a.m. Friday, June 16.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach the Orange or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category and pollution may aggravate heart and lung disease as well as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and fatigue.

Credit: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

People are encouraged to reduce outdoor physical activities, take more breaks, or do less intense activities to reduce their exposure. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plan and keep their rescue inhaler nearby.

Wednesday evening, the air quality in southeast Minnesota moved into the Red zone on the MPCA’s Air Quality Index. At that level, the air is considered unhealthy for everyone who is outdoors, not just those in sensitive groups. 

RELATED: Smoke causes unhealthy conditions for everyone

The worst air quality in the United States blanketed Minnesota on Wednesday. Minneapolis public parks officials canceled events for music and movies in the park and outdoor activities on Wednesday. St. Paul canceled all youth and adult athletics.

RELATED: Canadian wildfire smoke gives Twin Cities the worst air in the US

The MPCA says smoke will gradually dissipate across the area Thursday, but may be slower to clear in the Mississippi River Valley. Therefore the alert has been extended until Friday morning.

For more information and current air quality conditions, CLICK HERE.