Air Quality Alert in effect for all of Minnesota through Saturday afternoon due to wildfire smoke

(ABC 6 News) – Air quality once is again is expected to go downhill for all of Minnesota as wildfire smoke from British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, drifts south across the state Friday and Saturday.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an Air Quality Alert effective through Saturday afternoon.

Fine particle levels are expected to reach the orange air quality index (AQI) category, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups should limit prolonged or heavy exertion and time spent outdoors.

Sinking air behind a cold frontal passage will push smoke elevated in the atmosphere down to the surface resulting in poor air quality.

Air quality will gradually improve on Saturday with gradual clearing across Minnesota from north to south. This alert may need to be locally extended depending on how fast the smoke dissipates.

This air is unhealthy for sensitive groups 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.

People in sensitive groups 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.

For current air quality conditions in Minnesota, CLICK HERE.

Credit: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency