...AIR QUALITY ALERT NOW IN EFFECT THROUGH 3 PM CDT TUESDAY... ...LONG DURATION AND UNPRECEDENTED SIGNIFICANT AIR QUALITY EVENT UNFOLDING ACROSS MINNESOTA... * WHAT...The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Quality Alert for fine particle pollution. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to reach the Purple or Very Unhealthy category. This will be a long duration and unprecedented significant air quality event for Minnesota. * WHERE...Central and south central Minnesota. * WHEN...Through 3 PM CDT Tuesday. * IMPACTS...The risk of health effects is increased for everyone. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Smoke from Canadian wildfires lingers over most of Minnesota. There will be some slight improvement in air quality throughout Friday and Friday night. However, on Saturday northerly winds behind a cold front will bring more smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba into Minnesota. This reinforcing batch of heavy smoke is expected to arrive starting Saturday morning. Smoke will continue pouring into the state throughout Saturday and into Sunday. High pressure will build over the area for Sunday and remain over the area for Monday into Tuesday morning. Smoke will recirculate under the high pressure, leading to prolonged period of heavy smoke. Fine particle levels will begin to improve Tuesday as southerly winds start moving the smoke out of the state. Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Purple AQI category, a level considered very unhealthy for everyone, across north central and south central Minnesota. This area includes St Cloud, the Twin Cities, and the tribal nation of Mille Lacs. Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across northern and central Minnesota. This area includes Alexandria, Mankato, Albert Lea, and the tribal nations of Upper Sioux and Prairie Island. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Sensitive groups, such as people with lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, and children and older adults, should avoid all physical activities outdoors. The general public should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. 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 https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air- quality. You can find additional information about health and air quality at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/why-you-should-care- air-quality-and-health.