North Dakota Department of Health warns residents about wildfire smoke

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) urges residents, especially those with respiratory conditions, to consider limiting prolonged outdoor activities while smoky conditions remain across North Dakota.

Wildfires along the West Coast and in Montana, Idaho and Canada are sending smoke across the state. Particulate matter consists of extremely small particles of ashes and soot found in the air.

Particulate matter can be irritating to the respiratory system, especially for those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or conditions such as asthma and allergies. The NDDoH advises people with respiratory conditions, the elderly and young children to limit prolonged outdoor exposure. People reacting to smoke to the extent that it is affecting breathing should seek immediate help from a medical provider.

Except for northeastern North Dakota, ground-level particulate concentrations are currently decreasing in the state. However, satellite imagery and fire conditions show increased transportation of particulates in the upper atmosphere. Elevated particulate numbers may become a concern as upper atmospheric conditions change.

For up-to-date information on the region’s current air quality and tips on respiratory protection during a smoke event, visit https://deq.nd.gov/AQ/monitoring/Wildfire.aspx.