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Smoky conditions contribute to poor air quality

The North Dakota Department of Environmental quality is recommending residents exercise caution as smoky conditions persist.

As smoke from Canadian wildfires continue to drift down into North Dakota, small particles of soot and ash are coming with it – contributing to deteriorating air quality throughout the region.

Ryan Mills is Ambient Air Monitoring Manager with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality. He says residents with respiratory conditions will want to consider limiting their outdoor activities, but in some areas air quality is poor enough that it isn’t healthy for anyone.

He says DEQ’s Division of Air Quality is monitoring its air sampling network across the state, and the areas most heavily impacted are in the eastern half of North Dakota.

"Our monitors are on the ground level, and a lot of times if you see it up in the atmosphere you can tell it's smoky, but you might not smell it or have a tough time breathing. When it's suspended up in the atmosphere - but our monitors on the ground aren't really picking it up. Then meteorological conditions will change, push it down to the ground. And that's where our monitors are starting to pick it up."

Mills says anyone can log on to www.airnow.gov to monitor the region’s air quality, and read tips on respiratory protection during a smoke event.