Air Quality Alert in effect for much of Minnesota Friday continuing through Noon Sunday, Aug 19th. Canadian wildfire smoke has moved across much of the state obscuring sunshine in many locations. AQI values have begun to approach and work into the orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) category over northern portions of the state. Increasing AQI values are expected across central areas of the state this afternoon/evening. On Saturday, widespread smoke and AQIs in the upper yellow (moderate)/low orange categories are expected. Those sensitive to air pollution (asthma, COPD, and heart disease patients, and children and older adults) and those being outdoors for extended period of time doing heavy, physical activity are most susceptible to air quality issues. It is suggested to reduce time outdoors and/or activity and monitor your health. Conditions to improve on Sunday as winds will become south-southwesterly to help move the smoke-laden air out of the region while a cold front with showers and thunderstorms approaches from the west-northwest. A return of smoke is possible on Tuesday and will have to be monitored.