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Smoky skies are back in Minnesota this weekend, air quality alert issued

An air quality alert has been issued for the northern half of the state, with the south to follow.

Bad news for Minnesota, the skies are going to be smoky again this weekend.

Smoke from wildfires that continue to rage in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada started moving into Minnesota again on Thursday afternoon.

It has prompted an air quality alert for northern Minnesota by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which will last until noon on Sunday.

The warning is in place for the northern half of the state, including Brainerd, Bemidji, Duluth, Ely, Moorhead, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake and Red Lake.

While air quality was okay over Thursday night, it's expected to change from green (good air quality) to orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) over the course of Friday morning in the north half of the state. 

It'll get worse in the Twin Cities too

While the metro area isn't included in the initial alert, the MPCA says it will likely be extended to envelop the Twin Cities as the smoke moves south during Friday.

"The southern 1/2 of the state including the Twin Cities is expected to begin experiencing smoky conditions and degraded air quality by Friday evening," it says.

"An air quality alert will likely be issued for this area tomorrow and valid for Friday night through Sunday."

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The MPCA says the smoke will start lightening up a little on Saturday afternoon, when winds decrease the amount being brought into the state.

Nonetheless those who suffer from asthma or other breathing conditions, have heart disease or high blood pressure, as well as children and older adults, are advised to minimize their time outdoors.

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