The smoke is back.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has extended its air quality alert through Wednesday at 9 p.m. for the northern half of the state, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Smoke from wildfires in Canada blanketed Minnesota starting last Thursday, although an area of high pressure has cleared the smoke from the southern portion of the state.
In far northern Minnesota, fine particle levels will likely reach a level considered unhealthy for everyone. This affects residents of International Falls, Grand Portage, Grand Marais, Baudette and the tribal nations of Grand Portage.
In the north central, northeast and northwest parts of the state, fine particle levels should reach a level that's unhealthy only for people in sensitive groups, such as those with asthma or other breathing conditions. This area includes Duluth, Ely, Two Harbors, Brainerd, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Hinckley, Roseau, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake, Fond du Lac, Upper Sioux and Red Lake.
People in sensitive groups, such as those with heart conditions or lung diseases like asthma and COPD, should avoid prolonged exertion outdoors when the air quality is unhealthy.
The MPCA recommends that people cut down on anything that burns fuel, instead using public transportation, walking and biking when possible; postponing use of gasoline-powered lawn care equipment; and avoiding backyard fires.
Maya Miller • 612-673-7086