The orange category means sensitive groups should limit their time outdoors.

Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy, including limiting, changing, or postponing physical activity.

The MPCA said the alert was issued because ground-level ozone is expected to be high during the afternoon hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday across central and southern parts of Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Department of National Resources, burning permits will not be issued or activated and campfires are discouraged. Additional counties may have burnings restrictions in place due to high fire danger levels. For up-to-date information on fire danger and burning restrictions visit

According to the MPCA news release, sunny skies, warm temperatures and low humidity will create an environment favorable for two types of pollutants – volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides – to react in the air to produce ground-level ozone. These pollutants will be transported by southerly winds from the Chicago area, northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

Ozone will be highest during the afternoon and early evening hours when sunshine is most abundant, and temperatures are highest. Ozone will be low in the morning, late evening, and overnight.

To avoid adding to the ozone problem, reduce vehicle trips and fill-up the gas tank at dawn or dusk. Use public transportation or carpool, if possible. Postpone use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days or use battery or manual equipment instead.

Precautions for sensitive groups

According to the MPCA, people who are more likely to be affected when ozone pollution reaches an unhealthy level include the following:

  • People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.
  • Children and teenagers.
  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.

Some healthy people are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors. There may be a genetic base for this increased sensitivity.
Unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate lung diseases like asthma, emphysema and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing, or unusual fatigue. The news release said anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should use their inhalers as directed and contact their health care provider.

Anyone with asthma, or other breathing conditions like COPD should have a rescue inhaler with them. Those with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Those without an asthma action plan should make an appointment with their provider to make one.

Visit MPCA’s

Air Quality Index webpage

for information on current air quality conditions in your area. Sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications though



Download the EPA AirNow mobile app from the

Apple App Store

or the

Google Play Store



Air quality and health webpage

has information about air quality and

how to prevent air pollution


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