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The worst air quality ever recorded in North Dakota caused by Canadian wildfire smoke



North Dakota – The summer season is meant to be a time for families to spend time outside playing and maintaining their yards, but this year’s summer air has been anything but pleasant.

“This has been the worst year for air quality,” said Jim Semerad, the director of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ).

However, several dangerous flames in the north are making life difficult for many people in North Dakota.

According to Semerad, it is their responsibility to make sure North Dakotans are aware of the state’s air pollution because it can have a harmful impact on people of all ages.

“The key is that it can impact everybody differently, so know your own body, know how you’re feeling, if you’re out working hard, if you’re running, if you’re exercising, if you’re working outside through excursion. You might be affected more than somebody who let’s say is just sitting down,” said Semerad.

According to Semerad, children are also susceptible to the effects of poor air quality because they tend to be more active than adults and have smaller bodies and lungs.

“We’ve had some interesting calls let’s say from directors or let’s say children’s softball or baseball tournaments, and those are really hard because when you have higher numbers you don’t know how it’s going to affect children,” said Semerad.

Despite North Dakota having some of the cleanest air in the nation, Semerad claims that the Canadian wildfires serve as a reminder of the power of nature, how rapidly environmental conditions can change, and the necessity of ongoing air monitoring.

“We take our clean air for granted and our clean water, but North Dakota continues to be one of the few states in the country that consistently meets clean air standards throughout the state,” said Semerad

That track record, according to Semerad, should help North Dakotan families rest better.

Children in North Dakota are more likely to experience asthma episodes throughout the summer months under these circumstances, according to the Clean Air Task Force.

There are many things you may take to prepare yourself in case the air quality declines, as advised on the REA website.

Some actions you can take to safeguard your health if you see or smell smoke are:

• Staying inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside.
• Reducing outside physical activity.
• Setting air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate in order to prevent outside air from moving inside.

Protecting North Dakotans’ health from the damaging impacts of air pollution is the mission of the Division of Air Quality.