Skip to main content

Photos: Canadian wildfires fill northern Minnesota skies with smoke

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

"Heavy smoke" from Canadian wildfires has descended upon northern Minnesota, with the state's Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) warning of "very unhealthy" air pollution levels in in certain areas.

The agency issued an air quality alert, in effect until 9 a.m. Wednesday, due to the smoke being brought in from Ontario and Manitoba fires due to northerly winds. 

Images from the impacted areas tell the story. Smoke-filled skies have significantly reduced visibility, leaving residents going about their day amid a thick, gray haze. Here are some photos taken from MNDOT traffic cameras in northern Minnesota Tuesday morning:

The smoke isn't just inhibiting visibility.

Duluth cancelled its water safety expo due to concerns over air quality — and the city isn't even in the air quality warning area. 

Air quality conditions as of 11 a.m., July 20, 2021.

Air quality conditions as of 11 a.m., July 20, 2021.

While the National Weather Service Sioux Falls says the smoke should become less dense as the day goes on, those living in the area have to deal with the poor air for a while still.

The air quality will generally impact those in sensitive groups the most, the MPCA says, meaning children and older adults, people who have asthma or other breathing conditions, those with heart disease or high blood pressure, and people doing intense physical activity outdoors.

But poor air quality can affect everyone. People living in the alert area should take precautions, including:

  • Limiting, changing or postponing physical activity
  • Taking it easy and listening to your body
  • Avoiding local sources of air pollution, such as wood fires or busy roadways
  • If you have asthma or other breathing conditions, keep an inhaler nearby

Follow Bring Me The News on Twitter for the latest breaking news

Next Up

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.

Ken Jeong

Licensed physician Ken Jeong to do standup in MN this September

The licensed physician will take the stage at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on Sept. 30.

Osseo Police Department

Osseo PD says officer did not pursue suspect who caused fatal crash

The crash happened in Brooklyn Park early Sunday morning.

221 Main Street. E. Albert Lea

Suspect arrested after 3 family members stabbed in Albert Lea

The three victims are related, according to police.


Evidence that omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 are in Minnesota

The European CDC has warned of a possible significant summer surge fueled by the omicron subvariants.

driving unsplash - crop

Hastings man charged for driving drunk with 2-year-old in vehicle

Matthew Quade's BAC was almost five times over the legal limit when police pulled him over last week.

police lights

Arrest made after person shot at Hopkins apartment building

Police say this was an isolated incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other.


BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant quickly becoming dominant in MN

Experts say the subvariant is more transmissible but there is not evidence to suggest it causes more severe disease.


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.

smoke, hazy sky, wildfire smoke

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

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

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.

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

Air quality still bad on Friday as wildfire smoke continues to blanket MN

The smoky haze will continue till at least Friday afternoon.

Canadian wildfire smoke plowing through Minnesota

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