Image of predicted high-impact smoke area affecting western MN this week courtesy Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for western Minnesota due to heavy ground-level smoke from Canadian wildfires. The alert takes effect at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, and runs until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

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

Heavy ground-level smoke from wildfires in the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta is currently blanketing most of western Canada. This smoke will be brought into the Dakotas and western Minnesota Tuesday morning by northerly winds. The smoke will quickly move south across the western one-third of the state, impacting northwest Minn. in the morning, then the southwest part of the state in the afternoon through early Wednesday morning.

The duration of smoke impacts will be brief at any one location, but concentrations may be very high and reach the Red AQI category for a few hours. Air quality will improve across southwest Minn. on Wednesday morning.

Fine particle levels are expected to reach a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, across western Minn.