An air quality alert has been posted for southern Minnesota from 1 p.m. Wednesday through 6 p.m. Thursday.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the air quality alert will last through 6 p.m. on Thursday. The affected area stretches from Western Minnesota through the southeastern corner of the state.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Air Quality Index in Lakeville, the closest monitoring site to Rice County, was 95, which is considered “moderate.” An AQI of 101-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The MPCA forecasts a level of 101 on Thursday and between 101 and 150 on Friday in the south metro.
According to the MPCA, “light winds, cloudy skies and a strong inversion have produced stagnant conditions.”
On Thursday, winds are expected to be light and to the south. By late Thursday, cleaner air is expected to move in and cause AQI values to return to an index between 0 and 50 in the northern half of the state. In southeastern Minnesota, the MPCA expects stagnant conditions to continue.
Due to the air quality alert, Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn has announced that burning restrictions will go into effect immediately in Rice County. No open burning will be allowed.
Recreational camp fires are also discouraged during this time period.