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St Paul (KROC AM News) -  Some Minnesotans may resume wearing masks for a few days - but not because of Covid concerns.

Most of Minnesota is expected to be affected by smoke from Canadian wildfires through Thursday, with hazy and smoky conditions that could cause health issues.

As a result, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for most of the state. It will be in effect through Thursday morning.

PCA spokesman David Brown says:

 "I think that this will probably go down as the most significant wildfire smoke event that we've seen in our recent history since we've been measuring fine particles, beginning about in the year 2000. This one is unprecedented, both in the magnitude of the measurement that we're seeing and then how long they've been sticking around."

Brown says everyone is at an increased risk for health effects if exposed to the smoke for an extended period. He says Minnesotans who are in sensitive groups such as people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, and children and older adults could face more severe respiratory issues. Brown advises people to stay inside and avoid outdoor activities, especially those involving exercise or work that increases a person’s breathing and/or heart rate.

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR

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

News update:  Rochester's Cascade Beach is now open 7 days a week.

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We might be full of lakes and "nice" but Minnesota has had its fair share of horrible and nasty weather. Throughout the years we've had floods, fires, storms that have crushed stadium roofs flat, and tornadoes that have destroyed lives.


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