BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – The haze that’s plagued most of North Dakota for the past 24 hours is finally clearing up.

It didn’t take long for us to realize just how uncomfortable it is to breathe in all that smoky air. But why should you even care about poor air quality at all?

Poor air quality comes from an increase of tiny little particles in the air. For people with breathing issues, like asthma or COPD, even minor spikes in air quality can be harmful.

And when the air quality goes above ‘hazardous,’ as it was Wednesday, everybody – no matter how healthy you are – is affected.

“When these particulates in the air get into your lungs and cause that irritation, when your airways shrink and they collapse, due to this irritation, that, for some people, can be life threatening,” said Dr. J’Patrick Fahn, CMO for CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck.

That’s why Fahn echoes the advice of the Environmental Protection Agency: he says when air quality is bad, it’s best to stay inside.

The air quality in western North Dakota has gotten considerably better. Anything under 50 on the AQI scale is safe. And Wednesday, levels were at or above 1,000.

As of 5:00 p.m. Thursday in Bismarck, our AQI score was 62.

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