UPDATE: ‘Hazardous’ air quality reported; Department of Environmental Quality urges caution during smoky conditions
BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) - UPDATE (5/17 at 8 p.m.): Air quality sensors in western and central North Dakota are still reporting “very unhealthy” or “hazardous” air quality. The latest forecast models show that some of the near-surface smoke should slowly move out of North Dakota from north to south by Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE (5/17 at 4 p.m.): An air quality sensor near Bismarck reported an air quality index of 563, which is well into the “hazardous” category. A sensor in Beulah reported an air quality index of 659.
UPDATE (5/17 at 2 p.m.): Numerous air quality sensors in western and central North Dakota are reporting “hazardous” conditions with air quality index levels of 300 or higher. At 12 p.m. CDT, Ryder was reporting an air quality index of 617, Watford City had a report of 551, and Kenmare reported an air quality index of 538.
According to fire.airnow.gov, when air quality is this bad, everyone should avoid all outdoor physical activity and if you are hot, go someplace with air conditioning. For sensitive groups (those with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults, children, and pregnant people), the recommended actions are to stay indoors in a place with cleaner indoor air and keep activity levels light.
Smoke from wildfires that are burning in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, is expected to linger through Wednesday night before improving for some on Thursday.
ORIGINAL STORY (5/17/23 at 9 a.m.): Smoke from northwest Canadian wildfires is impacting air quality in the Peace Garden state Wednesday.
At around 9 a.m. CT, cities including Minot and Williston began experiencing smoky skies and reduced visibility.
The Department of Environmental Quality is advising people with respiratory issues in North Dakota cities, including Bismarck, to avoid going outdoors.
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