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Smoke from Canadian wildfires reaches US and Minnesota under air quality warning

With more than 100 active wildfires burning in Canada, smoke from wildfires has moved across the border into the United States, leading Minnesota officials to issue the state’s first air quality alert for 2024 on Sunday.

Several of the string of Canadian wildfires have been labeled as “out of control,” according to officials, who placed 40 of the 140 active fires in this category.

Most active wildfires, 91 to be precise, are in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

Smoke rises from the HTZ001 mutual aid wildfire in the High-Level Forest Area, which ignited in the Northwest Territories in 2023 but flared due to high winds, near Indian Cabins, Alberta, Canada, May 10, 2024. (Handout via Reuters) (Wildfire in Alberta/via Reuters)Smoke rises from the HTZ001 mutual aid wildfire in the High-Level Forest Area, which ignited in the Northwest Territories in 2023 but flared due to high winds, near Indian Cabins, Alberta, Canada, May 10, 2024. (Handout via Reuters) (Wildfire in Alberta/via Reuters)

Smoke rises from the HTZ001 mutual aid wildfire in the High-Level Forest Area, which ignited in the Northwest Territories in 2023 but flared due to high winds, near Indian Cabins, Alberta, Canada, May 10, 2024. (Handout via Reuters) (Wildfire in Alberta/via Reuters)

In the US, smoke from wildfires has reached states from Montana to Wisconsin, but on Sunday the smoke was especially heavy in Minnesota.

Minnesota’s air quality alert was issued Sunday and remains in effect through Monday.

PHOTO: ABC News (ABC News)PHOTO: ABC News (ABC News)

PHOTO: ABC News (ABC News)

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for much of Northern Minnesota today is between 150 and 200, which is “unhealthy” and has sometimes risen above the AQI limit of 200 into a “very unhealthy” zone.

Bemidji, a city in northern Minnesota, recorded an AQI of 212 on Sunday, with residents at these levels able to smell smoke in the air and placing the city among the worst air quality locations in the world.

Tonight in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there will be moderate to heavy smoke levels reaching the surface, with officials warning residents, especially those with allergies, to make sure their windows are closed from Sunday evening through Monday morning.

MORE: Toxic smoke from Canadian wildfires could affect the health of millions of people in the US

By sunrise Monday, wildfire smoke across the U.S. will likely be much weaker, with average levels stretching from Wisconsin to southern Minnesota.

This aerial photo from the Alberta Wildfire Service, taken May 10, 2024, shows smoke from wildfires burning in the Grande Prairie forest area, near Teepee Creek, in Alberta, Canada.  (Photo by Handout / Alberta Wildfire Service / AFP) (Handout/Alberta Wildfire Service/AFP via)This aerial photo from the Alberta Wildfire Service, taken May 10, 2024, shows smoke from wildfires burning in the Grande Prairie forest area, near Teepee Creek, in Alberta, Canada.  (Photo by Handout / Alberta Wildfire Service / AFP) (Handout/Alberta Wildfire Service/AFP via)

This aerial photo from the Alberta Wildfire Service, taken May 10, 2024, shows smoke from wildfires burning in the Grande Prairie forest area, near Teepee Creek, in Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Handout / Alberta Wildfire Service / AFP) (Handout/Alberta Wildfire Service/AFP via)

On Monday evening, Omaha, Nebraska, is expected to experience some hazier skies due to the flow of wildfire smoke.

The effects of wildfire smoke are a growing problem in the United States that is only expected to worsen, according to a study published in February.

According to the First Street Foundation, the effects of wildfire smoke could pose significant health risks to 125 million Americans by mid-century.

MORE: Wildfire smoke will worsen in US, endangering 125 million people: study

In June 2023, smoke from the Canadian wildfires blanketed parts of the Northeast and Midwest in a thick, orange haze.

At the time, 18 states, from Montana to New York and as far south as Georgia, were under air quality warnings, according to AirNow. New York City rose to the top of the world’s worst air quality rankings by a landslide, according to IQ Air.

Wildfire smoke poses surprising health risks to everyone, but especially to people with existing health problems. According to the EPA, wildfire smoke is linked to stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, lung cancer and early death.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires reaches US and Minnesota under air quality warning originally appeared on abcnews.go.com