Skip to main content

Hazy conditions may lift temporarily, but wildfire smoke will keep coming for Minnesota

Drifting smoke "will likely remain with us for a while," one group warned.
smoke, hazy sky, wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke resulted in an "unprecedented" stretch of unhealthy air quality for Minnesota recently, a thick haze that, thankfully, lifted midweek. But this respite is only temporary.

Minnesota Incident Command System, the interagency group that manages wildfire and risk incidents, said Thursday that smoke is going to keep billowing into Minnesota as long as the drought continues, and wildfires out west and up north keep burning.

"While rain and shifts in the wind will provide temporary relief at times, smoke drifting in from wildfires outside of Minnesota will likely remain with us for a while," the group wrote.

Related: More than 35 percent of Minnesota is in 'extreme' drought

Expect smoke to "linger" in the state "until significant changes in precipitation reduce the risk for wildfires," the group said.

This might not come as a surprise to residents of central and northern Minnesota, who are — once again — under an air quality alert, this time from 10 a.m. Thursday through 9 p.m. Friday. 

"Smoke is surging into northwest and western Minnesota behind a cold front," the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Air Quality Index account tweeted. The affected area includes  includes East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Bemidji, Brainerd, Ortonville, Alexandria, and St. Cloud, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake and Mille Lacs.

Fine particle levels will be unhealthy for everyone in the far north (that's the red in the map), and unhealthy for sensitive groups (people with breathing conditions, those with heart disease or high blood pressure, children, adults and people doing physical work outside) in the other impacted areas (orange on the map).

The remainder of the state is expected to have "moderate" air quality.

Next Up

police tape, crime scene

Man dies after being shot in the head in St. Cloud

Investigators believe the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

USATSI_18349907

Uvalde school massacre: MN Democrats call for action, Republicans prayers

The tragedy in Texas has sparked different reactions from Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud man fires shot at police in hours-long standoff, surrenders

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 37, was arrested just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after he surrendered.

New baby zebra at the Como Zoo.

St. Paul's Como Zoo welcomes new baby zebra

The baby is yet to be named, and the zoo is planning an event for visitors to help with the decision.

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 11.06.51 AM

Pilfered peony plant prompts police probe

The peony, named Patrick, was taken from Wayzata City Hall gardens.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, May 25

The latest update from the state health department.

280709010_460996515827958_860845154539781131_n

Beloved small town MN baseball field destroyed by severe storm

The mid-May storm system blasted the area with 90+ mph winds.

Ettinger and Finstad

CD-1 Primary: Jeff Ettinger gets DFL nod, Brad Finstad wins GOP vote

Jennifer Carnahan also was on the ballot as a GOP candidate — and fell about 11,000 votes shy of claiming victory.

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 8.01.45 AM

6-year-old and his grandparents killed in trailer home fire

"Found among the charred debris were two adults and a child," the sheriff's office said in a release.

USATSI_18345175

Uvalde massacre: MN schools react with horror, increase security

A gunman killed 19 children and two adults in Texas Tuesday afternoon.

Related

Flickr - smoke McGregor minnesota wildfire July 29 2021 - Lorie Shaull

'Unprecedented': The wildfire smoke isn't going anywhere this weekend

The air quality alert that was supposed to end Friday is now in effect into early next week.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Where to expect wildfire smoke in Minnesota on Monday, Tuesday

After a brief weekend break, the poor air quality will be back to start the week.

Chamberlain

Photos: Smoke-filled skies in northern Minnesota

Wildfire smoke is creating a thick, gray haze in parts of the northland.

Flickr - Minnesota haze 2018 - Northfielder

Wildfire smoke brings 'unhealthy' air to Twin Cities, 'very unhealthy' to central MN

Almost the entire state is under an air quality alert into Friday.

Hazy skies this morning? It's wildfires

Smoke from Canada is drifting down through Minnesota.