The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for southwest, western and central Minnesota because of smoke from Canadian wildfires.
The affected area includes Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud, and Worthington. The tribal nations of Mille Lacs and Upper Sioux are also affected. The air quality alert is in effect through Saturday.
Air pollution monitors show an increase in fine particles as thicker smoke moves north from northwest Iowa into the southwestern portion of Minnesota. The smoke will move north as southerly winds develop across western Minnesota.
The pollution is expected to remain at, or above, a level that's considered unhealthy for those who are sensitive, including children and the elderly.