MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for southwest, western and central Minnesota due to fine particle pollution caused by wildfires in Canada.

The air quality alert, effective Friday through 6 a.m. Saturday, includes Alexandria, Brainerd, Marshall, Ortonville, St. Cloud and Worthington. Tribal Nations of Mille Lacs and Upper Sioux are also impacted.

The MPCA says the smoke will be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which include people with asthma or other breathing conditions, people with heart disease or high blood pressure, children and older adults, and people of all ages who are doing extended or heavy physical activities.

“Showers and thunderstorms will approach western and northwestern Minnesota (Friday) evening helping to disperse smoke in some areas. Southwest and central Minnesota will continue with higher fine particle levels through the overnight hours until precipitation arrives. By Saturday morning, most areas of smoke will be pushed south and dissipated,” the agency said.