Air quality alert issued for northeast Minnesota due to wildfire smoke

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for northeast Minnesota, effective Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. through Monday at 6 a.m.

The affected areas include Duluth, Ely, Hibbing, International Falls, Two Harbors, Grand Marais, Grand Portage and the tribal areas of Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and Red Lake.

Smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba will be transported by northerly winds circulating around high pressure into the northeast part of the state, according to the MPCA. Heavy smoke is expected to arrive Saturday morning and remain over the area into Monday morning. During this time, fine particle levels are expected to be in the Orange AQI category, a level the MPCA says is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality include those who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and emphysema; people of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors; and some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors.

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