North Dakota air quality being affected by out-of-state fires

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The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality is urging people with specific conditions like asthma to limit their outdoor activities because of smoky conditions.

Over the past few days, the department’s Air Quality Division has been closely monitoring the air in our area.

Smoke from wildfires across Wyoming, Idaho and California are all bringing small particles of ash and soot into the state.

North Dakota’s air quality manager says weather usually plays a role in clearing out the smoke.

“We’re in a drought, but even when it rains it actually grabs that particular out of the air and basically washes the sky. We haven’t had a lot of rain, even the whole region hasn’t had a lot of rain,” explained Mills.

Through a nationwide website, Air Now, the Department of Environmental Quality found that the Bismarck area is in the orange category which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Fargo is in the red category which is unhealthy for everyone.

Mills says everyone has access to the data and can check on it on a regular basis before even stepping out the door.

“Feel fortunate that we have those tools now. We never use to have that before. We could look at our own numbers, but we didn’t necessarily know what the bigger scope was. What was the bigger picture? And where these fires are at? Is it fires or something more local?” explained Mills.

You can find the information here: https://www.airnow.gov/fires/

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