Following a hazy day on Monday across the Northland due to high-level smoke that didn't present a major air quality issue things are projected to trend for the worse on Tuesday.

Smoke from wildfires Western Canada is fueling air quality concerns for a large portion of Minnesota on Tuesday, prompting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to issue an air quality alert.

This alert, issued on Monday afternoon, goes into effect starting at 4:00 am on Tuesday, May 16. It impacts all of Northern Minnesota, including Duluth, Brainerd, the Iron Range, Bemidji, and the North Shore and as far south as Alexandria and Hinckley.


The MPCA explains that a strong cold front will push in from Canada overnight, bringing with it more smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Sinking air behind this cold front will bring smoke particles closer to the ground, creating poor air quality that will reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups across the northern half of Minnesota.

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Hazy conditions and the smell of smoke are expected, with those in sensitive groups like people with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions being warned of air quality that could aggravate these conditions. Chest pain, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath are among symptoms that could be experienced by people in these groups.

To minimize impacts, those in sensitive groups are asked to take precautions like reducing outdoor physical activities, taking more breaks, or doing less intense activities to reduce their exposure.

Air quality is expected to improve Tuesday afternoon and evening, with the official air quality alert is scheduled to expire as of the latest update by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, May 16.  While conditions may improve into the afternoon and evening hours smoke could persist after the air quality alert expires.

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