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The entire state is under an air quality alert as Canadian wildfire smoke plows through Minnesota

Smoke from fires burning in Canada have been blown south into Minnesota.

Smoke from raging wildfires in western Canada will be over the entire state of Minnesota on Saturday, with the National Weather Service responding by placing the entire state under an air quality alert through 12 p.m. Sunday. 

Unhealthy air quality levels have been working their way from north to south since Fridayas a "thick blanket of smoke" has arrived. Air quality will deteriorate from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities and Rochester around midday Saturday, whereas northern and western areas of the state experienced the worst of it on Friday evening/night. 

This level of an air quality alert means there are fine particles in the air that can cause problems for people with asthma or other breathing conditions, people with heart disease, high blood pressure, children, older adults, and anyone doing extended physical activity outdoors. 

"The most expansive air quality alert issued in many years for Minnesota as wildfire smoke envelops the state!" tweeted Daniel Dix, a meteorologist and air quality scientist in Minnesota. 

The Milwaukee branch of the National Weather Service tweeted a satellite loop that shows the smoke working its way across Minnesota late Friday. 

Southerly winds will bring cleaner air into the region by Sunday. 

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