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Fires in Kansas, Nebraska prompt air pollution advisory in Minnesota

ST. PAUL—The Bemidji area is included in an air pollution advisory because of fires across eastern Kansas and Nebraska.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Thursday afternoon issued an air pollution health advisory for western Minnesota 8 a.m. Friday. The affected area includes Mankato, Hutchinson, St. Cloud, Marshall, Willmar, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Bemidji and Thief River Falls.

Air quality monitors indicate a narrow plume of smoke stretching from western and northwest Iowa into western Minnesota. The smoke, a result of fires across eastern Kansas and Nebraska, is expected to persist in the area through Friday morning, the MPCA said in a release. Fine particle pollution is expected to remain near a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Later Friday morning, winds out of the southeast are expected to bring in cleaner air across the state of Minnesota, the release said.

Populations sensitive to fine particles include those with preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory disease, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in activities requiring extended or heavy exertion, both indoors and outdoors. Members of these groups are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous activity and minimize exposure to local sources of air pollution (i.e., heavy duty vehicle traffic, wood fires, and candles).

For more information, visit www.pca.state.mn.us for information on air quality conditions in your area.