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Canadian wildfires prompt another air quality alert

Canadian wildfires are making their presence known in the Alexandria area for the second straight week, as the sun struggled to be seen through the smoke Friday morning. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)1 / 2
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Because of continued Canadian wildfires, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued another air quality alert for Douglas County and the northern half of Minnesota.

The alert runs through noon Sunday.

According to the MPCA, a large area of Canadian wildfire smoke was expected to cover much of the northern half of the state by early Friday morning.

Air pollution monitors show a rapid rise in fine particles with values exceeding an Air Quality Index value of 100 along with weather observations showing visibility dropping to 2-5 miles in this plume of smoke and expected to continue over northern Minnesota, a release said.

The smoke plume is from fires in British Columbia and Alberta and from wildfires north of Kenora in western Ontario.

Periods of smoke are expected to remain in this area through Sunday morning. Officials said that by Saturday afternoon winds will begin to decrease the transport of smoke into the affected region.

The southern half of Minnesota will be monitored for an air quality alert Friday night into Saturday.

When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these health conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue, the release said. If experiencing any of these symptoms, use inhalers as directed and contact a health care provider.

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 website at: www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality.

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