Red air quality warning issued for all of Minnesota

(KNSI) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert that will remain in effect until noon Monday.

The warning falls into the red category, meaning conditions are hazardous to health for everyone. As of Sunday afternoon, a haze was visible to the naked eye, brought by a cold front pushing across the state from the northwest.

Officials say the smoke could cause a variety of symptoms, including irritated eyes, nose and throat, cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. They encourage you to limit time outside when possible and to take more frequent breaks when exerting yourself during exercise or work.

The air quality problems are again due to the wildfires in Canada. Similar to last year, they broke out in British Columbia and Alberta late last week. In Canada, hundreds of wildfires broke out over the summer from Quebec to British Columbia, affecting numerous major cities in America. Minnesota suffered a record number of air quality warnings in 2023, and Canadian authorities warn that a warm, dry winter could cause us even more problems this year.

Last week, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz shared the state’s 2024 air quality forecast. He said we should see more announcements than normal, but not the second entry in a row. In 2023, there were a total of 21 warnings over a 52-day period. Sixteen were related to wildfires and nine were red. Our first meeting this year will take place in mid-May.


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