DEQ air quality map

An air quality map North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality has online shows a blob of low quality air hanging out in northwestern North Dakota. Wildfires in Canada and from the West are the culprits.

That pall of smoke hanging out over the Williston region is courtesy of wildfires going in the West and in Canada, according to information from the National Weather Services.

“I think the lion’s share of it, from what I can tell, is coming from Canada,” meteorologist Corey King told the Williston Herald. “It gets kind of hard once it’s here to see the source region, especially at night, because once it starts coming in at night it’s harder to see smoke on satellites.”

Rain has been forecast for the weekend, complete with a low-pressure system that could help clear at least some of the smoke out, King suggested.

“The good news is that low coming in should at least kind of push it out of here for a while,” King said.

Wildfire smoke contains fine particulates that can travel long distances and move deeply into lungs when a person breathes. Sensitive groups, including young children, the elderly, and individuals with reduced respiratory or heart functions are especially susceptible to particulates in the air.

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality keeps a map online that shows the air quality at any given time in an area. That can help people monitor the air quality near them, and make decisions on how much time to spend outside during times of poor air quality due to wildfires.

The map is online at tinyurl.com/na93kxys. It showed a large orange and red blotch hanging out over northwestern North Dakota Friday afternoon. Red indicates unhealthy air quality in general, and orange air quality that is problematic for sensitive groups.

During a smoke event with high levels of particulars, DEQ recommends staying in an air-conditioned indoor space if possible. Set home air conditioners to recirculate indoor air, to reduce the amount of particulates brought into your home.

Installing a HEPA filter in the home heating and air-conditioning system will reduce existing home particulates.

If no air conditioning is available in the home, consider relocating to a friend or family member’s home with air conditioning, or some other air conditioned public space. Closing up a house without air conditioning can cause high temperatures.

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