Canadian Wildfires Affect Minnesota’s Air Quality 11 Jul 13

St. Paul, Minn. — Air pollution monitors across Minnesota are measuring elevated levels of fine particle pollution today. Satellite imagery indicates that the elevated fine particle levels are likely the result of transported Canadian wildfire smoke, which is blanketing much of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is not issuing an air quality advisory at this time; today’s air quality forecast for the Twin Cities and Rochester is 87 AQI, which is considered moderate air quality. However, even moderate air quality may cause health effects in individuals who are very sensitive to air pollution. Hazy skies are expected to persist throughout the day today and there may be isolated areas of dense smoke.

Winds are expected to shift to southerly tomorrow, July 11, and these winds may transport additional wildfire smoke into Minnesota from fires in the Central Plains. Air pollution levels are expected to remain elevated through Friday evening.

As a result, the MPCA recommends that persons in areas where the smell of smoke or visible haze is present take precautions to reduce exposure. When smoke is present, individuals are encouraged to remain indoors and reduce activity levels. Those with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory problems, such as asthma, are particularly susceptible to increases in air pollution as are the elderly and children.

People who want information about how smoke from wildfires affects health are advised to see the Minnesota Department of Health’s Health Hazards of Smoke from Wildfires webpage (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/emergency/natural/wildfire/smokehaz.html).

Visit the MPCA’s Air Quality Index website (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/aqi) for hourly updates on air quality conditions. To receive daily air quality forecasts and air quality alert notifications by email or text message, sign up at http://mn.enviroflash.info.

On the go? The Minnesota Air app is now available for Android devices in the Google Play Store. Apple and Windows versions will be available soon.