Smoke from Canadian and Western U.S. fires impacting South Dakota

The haze and smell in the air is from fires burning in Canada and the Western United States.

According to the National Weather Service, a change in the weather pattern brought the smoke this way. The cooler air and northerly winds also carry the smoke and ash from forest fires.

The smoke was higher in the atmosphere the past few days but the northerly winds keep it closer to the ground.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources late Thursday afternoon issued an air quality alert for areas of eastern South Dakota.  The department says the smoke is causing low visibility and increased fine particulate matter pollution at levels that may be a concern to public health. The current air pollution levels exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Elderly citizens, young children, and individuals with respiratory problems are the most susceptible. Those concerned about potential health impacts should consider avoiding excessive physical exertion, minimize outdoor activities during periods of low visibility caused by wildfire smoke, and keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.

The weather service says the smoke won’t disperse much until there’s a shift in the winds.

Minnesota also issued an air quality alert for most of the state through Friday afternoon.


July 29, 2021 updated on July 30, 2021