Smoke from Canadian wildfires breaks air quality records

Just after last week’s heavy smoke from Canadian wildfires, more smoke came into the area this week behind northerly winds.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s air quality monitor in Red Lake recorded an index of 397 last Tuesday, a then-preliminary record with an “extremely unhealthy” air quality.

Air quality monitors in St. Cloud and Brainerd recorded indexes of greater than 400 this week. St. Cloud recorded 422 on Thursday, the highest ever recorded in the state, and Brainerd recorded 401.

The air quality index is based on fine particulate matter per cubic meter of air.

The air quality alert is in the Orange AQI for most of the state today through 3 p.m.

Orange indicates the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with cardiovascular or respiratory health issues, children, and the elderly.

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