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Air quality alert for Alexandria for Friday, Saturday

Canadian wildfire smoke has prompted state officials to issue an air quality alert for central and northern Minnesota for today and tomorrow, including the Alexandria area.

The alert started at 1 p.m. Friday, July 20, and continues through 9 a.m. Saturday, July 21. It extends from Alexandria to Roseau and includes Brainerd, Moorhead and Bemidji.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the alert, saying that air pollution monitors in northern Minnesota are showing a rapid rise in fine particles with values exceeding an Air Quality Index value of 100. This is when air quality begins to get unhealthy for sensitive groups. Visibility has also dropped. The air pollution is expected to move south/southwest through Minnesota.

The smoke should arrive this afternoon into early evening in the north, and during the late evening and overnight from Alexandria to Saint Cloud, the agency said. Smoky conditions could last 6-8 hours at any location. The Alexandria area should clear out Saturday morning.

Those most likely to be affected by the smoke include children and older adults, people with heart disease or high blood pressure, those with asthma or other breathing conditions, and anyone who is doing extended or heavy, physical activity outdoors such as playing sports or working.

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