Air Quality Alert Issued Until 9 PM Friday
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert effective from 10 AM Thursday, August 5 until 9 PM Friday, August 6 for the west-central, northwestern, and north-central Minnesota. The affected area includes Roseau, Baudette, International Falls, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Bemidji, Brainerd, Ortonville, Alexandria, and St. Cloud, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and Red Lake.
According to the MPCA, the cause of this is a cold front that will push across northwestern Minnesota Thursday. Behind this cold front, northwestern winds will transport smoke from fires burning in southern Canada south across northern Minnesota.
Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across far northern Minnesota today. This area includes Roseau, Baudette, and International Falls, and the tribal nation of Red Lake.
Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Orange AQI category, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, for north central, west-central, and northwest Minnesota today. This area includes East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Bemidji, Brainerd, Ortonville, Alexandria, and St. Cloud, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake and Mille Lacs.
Sensitive groups whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality: There are people who are more likely to be affected when fine particle pollution reaches an unhealthy level.
- People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- People who have heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Children and older adults.
- People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.
- People who don’t have air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollution.
Health effects: Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider.
In areas where air quality is in the Red (Unhealthy) AQI category, sensitive individuals may experience increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and respiratory conditions. The general population may also experience increased respiratory effects.
In areas where air quality is in the Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) AQI category, sensitive individuals may experience aggravation of heart or lung disease and increasing likelihood of respiratory conditions.<
Take precautions: Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy.
- Take it easy and listen to your body.
- Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity level.
- If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Use indoor air filtration or air conditioning with the fresh-air intake closed/set on recirculate to reduce indoor air pollution.
- If you have asthma or other breathing conditions like COPD make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.
- People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider if you don’t have an asthma action plan.
In areas where air quality is in the Red (Unhealthy) AQI category, sensitive individuals should avoid prolonged exertion. Everyone else should limit prolonged exertion.
In areas where air quality is in the Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) AQI category, sensitive individuals should limit prolonged exertion.
Pollution reduction tips: The main sources of fine particle pollution is any activity that uses fuel. Conserving energy and buying clean, renewable energy are great lifestyle choices to help reduce overall pollution.
- Reduce vehicle trips.
- Encourage use of public transport, or carpool, when possible.
- Postpone use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days. Use battery or manual equipment instead.
- Avoid backyard fires.
For information on current air quality conditions in your area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications by email, text message, phone, or the Minnesota Air mobile app, visit MPCA’s Air Quality Index webpage. You can find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality at Air Quality and Health webpage.