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Nearly 90 wildfires burn in Canada as air quality threat looms in upper Midwest

May 13

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Around 90 wildfires are currently burning in Canada, sending smoke into the upper Midwest. On Monday, May 13, the smoke caused several states to issue air quality alerts. In Minnesota, all groups of people — healthy or not — were advised to stay indoors.

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There was a similar problem in 2023 when Canada had its worst wildfire season on record. Around 250,000 Canadians had to be evacuated because of fires and four firefighters died. Now, concerns are growing this year as people are evacuated from parts of British Columbia due to the Park Lake Fire, which continues to spread.

Other blazes in Canada are threatening communities in Alberta and Manitoba. Experts said the uptick in fires has been made worse by years of drought and this winter’s below-normal snowpack.

So far, the fires are also causing unhealthy conditions in the Dakotas, Montana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency advised people to remain indoors, with the warning extended on afternoon of May 13 to last until 11 p.m.

Most of the smoke is expected to stay over Minnesota, but some could drift south of Iowa and Chicago by Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Adding to the air quality problems is agricultural burning in Mexico, which is bringing unhealthy air to Texas earlier. Health officials are warning people who are in areas of poor air quality to stay indoors, and limit time outside if going outdoors is necessary. Health officials also recommend avoiding any strenuous activity outdoors.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

INTENSE WILDFIRES IN CANADA ARE SENDING SMOKE INTO THE UPPER MIDWEST OF THE US.

CREATING UNHEALTHY CONDITIONS FOR SOME AMERICANS.

YOU MAY REMEMBER A SIMILAR PROBLEM LAST YEAR–

AS WILDFIRES BURNED TO AMERICA’S NORTH.

LAST YEAR, MARKED THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE WILDFIRE SEASON IN CANADIAN HISTORY.

NOW, PEOPLE ARE BEING EVACUATED FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA AS THE PARKER LAKE FIRE GROWS.

LAST YEAR’S FIRES FORCED 250-THOUSAND CANADIANS TO EVACUATE AND FOUR FIREFIGHTERS DIED.

CURRENTLY, NEARLY 90 FIRES ARE BURNING IN THE COUNTRY.

SOME OF THE BLAZES ARE THREATENING COMMUNITIES IN ALBERTA AND MANITOBA.

EXPERTS SAY THE FIRES HAVE BEEN MADE WORSE BY YEARS OF DROUGHT AND THIS WINTER’S BELOW-NORMAL SNOWPACK.

IT’S ALSO CAUSING UNHEALTHY AIR QUALITY LEVELS IN THE US.

ALERTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN THE DAKOTAS, MONTANA, WISCONSIN AND MINNESOTA, SO FAR.

THE MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY ADVISED PEOPLE TO REMAIN INDOORS–

UNTIL THE WARNING EXPIRED MONDAY AFTERNOON.

MOST OF THE SMOKE IS EXPECTED TO STAY OVER MINNESOTA.

BUT SOME COULD DRIFT SOUTH OF IOWA AND CHICAGO– BY TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY.

ADDING TO THE PROBLEM AGRICULTURAL BURNING IN MEXICO BROUGHT UNHEALTHY AIR QUALITY TO TEXAS EARLIER THIS MONTH.

IF YOU ARE IN AN AREA OF POOR AIR QUALITY–

OFFICIALS ADVISE PEOPLE TO STAY INDOORS.

IF YOU HAVE TO GO OUTDOORS– THEY SUGGEST LIMITING YOUR TIME OUTSIDE.

AND AVOID STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES OUTDOORS.

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