Air Quality Alert expanded to include western, south-central Minnesota Wednesday

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has expanded the Air Quality Alert on Wednesday to include the western half and southern parts of Minnesota due to heavy smoke from Canadian wildfires.

The alert is in effect until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday and includes the cities of Mankato and Albert Lea in south-central Minnesota. Fine particle levels are expected to reach the orange air quality index (AQI) category, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, in this area. Sensitive groups should limit prolonged or heavy exertion and time spent outdoors.

Meanwhile, fine particle levels are expected to reach the red air quality index (AQI) category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across western Minnesota.

Credit: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The MPCA says the alert may be expanded again if needed. The northern edge of the smoke plume should move into Minnesota Wednesday morning, and air quality should improve from north to south throughout the day on Wednesday.

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.

Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and fatigue.

Air quality may also reach an unhealthy level for sensitive groups across parts of northern Iowa.

For more information about Minnesota air quality, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Iowa air quality, CLICK HERE.