Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Air quality alert updated due to increased wildfire smoke levels and continues through Friday, July 30, for nearly all of Minnesota


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for nearly all of Minnesota, except the North Shore. The alert is in progress and continues until Friday, July 30, at 3 p.m. The affected area includes Detroit Lakes, International Falls, Duluth, St Cloud, the Twin Cities, Marshall, Rochester, and the tribal nations of Fond du Lac, Upper Sioux, Leech Lake, Red Lake, Mille Lacs, and Prairie Island.

Northerly winds behind a cold front have brought smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba into Minnesota. As of 8 a.m. Thursday morning, an area of heavy smoke extends across north central Minnesota, from the Canadian border to St. Cloud. This smoke will continue to move south today. Smoke will remain over the state into Friday. A brief period of very heavy smoke is expected to impact north central Minnesota this morning and south central Minnesota this afternoon. Air quality is expected to improve this afternoon across north central and northeast Minnesota. Overall today, fine particle levels are expected to reach the Red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across north central and south central Minnesota. This area includes Roseau, Baudette, Detroit Lakes, St Cloud, Mankato, the western half of the Twin Cities, and the tribal nations of Upper Sioux, Leech Lake, Red Lake, and Mille Lacs. Fine particle levels are expected to be in the Orange AQI category, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, for the remainder of the alert area.

People whose health is affected by unhealthy air quality: 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.

• People who don't have air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollution.

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.

• Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Use indoor air filtration or air conditioning with the fresh-air intake closed/set on recirculate to reduce indoor air pollution.

• 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 the Minnesota Air mobile app, visit 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.


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