Air quality alert in effect for central Minnesota
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued an air quality alert for southwest, western and central Minnesota, effective through 6 a.m. Saturday. The affected area includes Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud and Worthington. ...
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued an air quality alert for southwest, western and central Minnesota, effective through 6 a.m. Saturday.
The affected area includes Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud and Worthington. Also impacted are the tribal nations of Mille Lacs and Upper Sioux.
Canadian wildfire smoke continues across much of southern, western and central Minnesota. Air pollution monitors are showing an increase in fine particles as thicker smoke moves north from northwest Iowa into the southwestern portion of Minnesota, according to the MPCA. Smoke will persist and move northward as southerly winds develop across western Minnesota.
During that time, fine particle pollution was expected to remain at, or above, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Showers and thunderstorms were expected to approach western and northwestern Minnesota Friday evening, helping to disperse smoke in some areas. Southwest and central Minnesota will continue with higher fine particle levels through the overnight hours until precipitation arrives. By Saturday morning, most areas of smoke were expected to be pushed south and dissipated.
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.
• 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.
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 experiencing any of these symptoms, use inhalers as directed and contact a health care provider.
Take precautions: Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy.
• Take it easy and listen to the body.
• Limit, change or postpone a physical activity level.
• If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.
• Those with asthma or other breathing conditions like COPD make sure you have a relief/rescue inhaler with them.
• People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see a health provider if without an asthma action plan.
Pollution reduction tips: The main sources of fine particle pollution are combustion activities. Conserving energy and buying clean, renewable energy are great lifestyle choices to help reduce overall pollution, a news release stated.
• 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 burning wood.
For information on current air quality conditions in an area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications by email or text message, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/aqi . Find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality at www.beairawaremn.org .