If you're traveling to western Minnesota, be forewarned that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert through 10 a.m. Saturday, August 11.

This alert is due to smoke from wildfires in western Canada, which continue to impact the western part of Minnesota.

According to the MPCA, the affected area includes the cities of Worthington, Marshall, Ortonville, Alexandria, Moorhead, East Grand Forks, Roseau, and Bemidji, and the tribal nations of Red Lake, Leech Lake, and Upper Sioux.

Air quality will periodically decline to levels unhealthy for people in the following groups:

  • 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

Statewide improvements in air quality are expected on Sunday as winds switch to the south, carrying the smoke back into Canada.