Smoke drifting south from wildfires in Ontario has prompted an air quality alert for much of central and northern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Friday afternoon that the alert is in effect until 9 a.m. Saturday for communities including Moorhead, East Grand Forks, Roseau, Bemidji, Brainerd, Alexandria, Saint Cloud, Morris and Ortonville. It also includes the Red Lake, Leech Lake and Mille Lacs reservations.

“Air pollution monitors in northern Minnesota are showing a rapid rise in fine particles with values exceeding an Air Quality Index value of 100, along with weather observations showing visibilities dropping to 1 to 5 miles due to smoke,” the MPCA reported.

The smoke plume was moving south and southwest as of Friday afternoon, with smoky conditions expected to last six to eight hours at any given location.

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • People who have heart disease or high blood pressure.Children and older adults.
  • People of all ages involved in extended or heavy, physical activity such as playing sports or working outdoors.
  • The agency said people should take precautions such as limiting physical activity until the air quality improves.
9:00 AM CDT on July 21, 2018
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