Image courtesy National Weather Service

The National Weather Service in Minneapolis has issued an air quality alert for central and southern Minnesota that runs through Friday night.

Heavy ground-level smoke from wildfires in the Northwest Territories of Canada began moving south across central Canada and towards Minnesota on Wednesday. A strong cold front brings this smoke across the entire state on Thursday.

This smoke may be heavy and air quality may reach the Red (Unhealthy) AQI category for much of eastern Minnesota. Smoke will linger across the eastern half of the state on Friday and fine particle levels will continue to be high for most of the day. Winds will become southerly Friday afternoon and smoke will begin to retreat away from the state and disperse. Air quality should improve below alert levels by the end of the day on Friday.

Some members of the general public may experience health effects. Sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, and children and older adults, may experience health effects.