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Air quality alert now statewide

Smoke from forest fires in the western U.S. and Canada is wafting across much of Minnesota this weekend, enough to spur an air quality alert for the entire state.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the alert Friday afternoon through Saturday, saying westerly winds will continue to blow the smoke into the area and impact people with sensitivity to air pollution and people doing strenuous activity outdoors.

Air quality already has deteriorated into the orange level in northwestern Minnesota and is expected to deteriorate in the south and east Saturday, including Duluth and all of Northeastern Minnesota.

The orange level means air could be unhealthy for people with breathing problems, such as asthma or COPD, and elderly and young people. Other people impacted could be those with heart disease or high blood pressure.

It’s also suggested that even healthy people limit or forego strenuous activities outdoors, such as sports or construction work, during alerts.

Southerly winds by Sunday afternoon should push the smoke out of the region and bring in clearer air, the PCA said.

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