Air quality alert issued due to wildfire smoke for Friday, August 10 into Sunday, August 12


(8/13/2018)

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued a statewide air quality alert due to smoke spreading across Southern Minnesota on Saturday.

Smoke from wildfires in western Canada will continue to affect Minnesota this weekend. Air Quality Indices (AQIs) in the orange category spread eastward across northern Minnesota on Friday evening, making air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups. However, smoke is not expected to impact air quality from St. Cloud, to the Twin Cities and Rochester until midday Saturday. Periods of smoke and orange AQIs will linger over the state on Saturday night before a south wind brings in cleaner air by Sunday afternoon.

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

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.

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.
• 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.

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 download the Minnesota Air mobile app by visiting 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: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/air-quality-and-health.

 

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