Those without health conditions still at risk during high air quality alert

"In Fargo, Moorhead and Grand Forks we're forecasting red air quality which is unhealthy for all individuals."

NORTH DAKOTA & MINNESOTA (KVRR) — Air conditions are on high alert as wildfires in parts of the U.S and Canada are pushing smoke through the upper Midwest.

With several large fires burning across Montana, Wyoming and Canada, officials from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality are warning people on how the hazy and smoky conditions may affect them.

“We’re obviously monitoring it. This is obviously a forest fire smoke that we’re getting inundated with right now. We definitely have seen some impacts. Your more sensitive groups, asthma, things of that nature you definitely don’t want to be breathing that in,” North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality manager Ryan Mills said.

Medical experts say the low air quality could pose a greater risk to those with underlying health conditions.

“People at increased risk for health issues during low air quality are elderly, very young people, people with asthma, heart disease and also pregnant women.” If you currently have allergies or heart and lung disease the air quality is really irritating. You can get a cough and other irritants that can really cause you to have more symptoms and shortness of breath,” Sanford Health Nurse Practitioner Autumn Nelson said.

Other experts warn even if you may not have underlying health conditions you could still be affected.

“In Fargo, Moorhead and Grand Forks we’re forecasting red air quality which is unhealthy for all individuals. Even those who are not sensitive to air quality impacts might be impacted when the air quality index goes into the red category,” Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Meteorologist Matt Taraldsen said.

The reason for the air quality being in the red is due to microscopic particles from the soot, ash and smoke.

“What we are concerned about is the really small particles called particular matter that’s smaller than the width of a human hair, but those little particles can get in our lungs and can cause stress on both the lungs and the heart,” said Taraldsen.

Experts say it is hard to determine how long air quality alert will last, expect improved conditions as we head into the weekend.

You can monitor air quality control in your area for North Dakota and Minnesota.

Categories: Minnesota News, North Dakota News