Poor air quality impacts some outdoors activities in Fargo-Moorhead

All outdoor pools in both Fargo and Moorhead remained closed this evening.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – A major music festival, outdoor pools and the elderly. They all are dealing with the smoky skies.

Poor air quality caused by the wildfires coming from the Canadian border has prompted many Fargo-Moorhead pools to close and also put a damper on different outdoor activities.

Fargo Blues Festival this weekend at Newman Outdoor Stadium is adjusting for the conditions. Fans attending the festival are enjoying the event despite the smoky air.

“It’s just something we overcome. Just one of those things a curve ball we never had to deal with this before but again we want people to be safe and have a good time,” said Bryan Shinn with the festival’s PR team.

“Doesn’t matter about the air. We are here we won’t miss it,” said two attendees.

Shinn added, “The nice thing about the Fargo Blues Fest is that it is outdoors and normally we don’t have the smoke and haze but I was talking with the bands earlier and they say it doesn’t bother them. They say they are used to playing in smoking bars all the time a little smoke isn’t gonna hurt them.”

The festival also has fans blowing cool air and food stands with water to help accommodate the crowd.

“Now if you are coming out here and you are concerned you are more than welcomed to wear a mask. We are not requiring it but it is your own personal safety; whatever is going to make you feel safe. We just want you to come out and have a good time,” Shinn said.

Those at Eventide Senior Living facilities have had to adjust.

“We’ve been educating our residents on the risks of being outdoors and we have almost moved all of our outdoor activities inside so they can still enjoy some socialization activities but in a healthy environment,” said Eventide Vice President of Marketing and Communications Carrie Carney.

Trollwood Performing Arts School cancelled Friday’s performance of Cinderella because of the air quality.

A doctor at Essentia Health in Fargo says people with coronary artery disease are especially vulnerable when spending time outdoors in smoky conditions.

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Rory Farnan says it’s inevitable that the smoke will lead to more people suffering heart attacks.

“Because this smoke, much like cigarette smoke, gets transported down the airways into the tiny little air sacks and then the particulate matter that’s in the cigarette smoke or the forest fires smoke in this case gets transported into the blood and then it goes all over the body,” he explained.

Farnan advises everyone to limit their exposure outdoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

He says long-term exposure to wildfire smoke can lead to the same diseases that affect smokers, including COPD, emphysema and cancer.