Low air quality alerts triggered in four northern US states over Canada wildfires

The fires this year have impacted residents in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana so far, with Minnesota seeing the worst. Residents in Minnesota have been placed in the red zone because of wildfires in British Columbia.
Canada wildfires stock photo

Four northern states have been placed under a low air quality alert as of Monday, as over 100 wildfires blaze in Canada, creating hazy conditions in the states.

Hundreds of wildfires in Canada last year caused some of the worst air quality in multiple cities across the United States, forcing millions of Americans to remain indoors. The fires impacted residents in New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and parts of the Midwest.

The fires this year have impacted residents in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana so far. Residents in Minnesota were placed in the red "unhealthy" zone on Sunday, because of a “band of very heavy smoke from wildfires in northeast British Columbia.” The alert expanded into Monday, but mostly affects the southern part of the state, per NBC News.

The other states had air quality ratings of either "moderate" or "unhealthy," which are marked by the red, orange, and yellow colors. The worst color on the air quality chart overall is maroon, which means the air quality is "hazardous." 

Children, active adults, and people with respiratory diseases are instructed to avoid outdoor exertion if they are in the red zone. Everyone else should limit prolonged outdoor exertion, according to the American Lung Association. If people are under an orange alert, it means people with health conditions should limit outdoor activity, but if they are under a yellow alert then sensitive groups should consider limiting outdoor activities. 

Cities in northern Montana remain in the yellow zone on Monday, but southern parts of the state are in the clear. Cities in North Dakota and South Dakota are primarily in the orange and yellow zones.

There are currently 146 wildfires spreading across Canada, and the Canadian government on Friday said that drought conditions “are expected to persist in high-risk regions in May.” This increases the “risk and intensity of both natural and human-caused wildfires.”

Dozens of fires in Alberta and British Columbia, which could affect Americans, are labeled "out of control" as of Monday.

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.