FARGO -- Poor air quality persisted across North Dakota and western Minnesota on Friday, Aug. 10, due to smoke from wildfires in the western United States and Canada.

The North Dakota Department of Health is urging residents, particularly ones with respiratory conditions, to think about limiting prolonged periods spent outdoors.

"Wildfires (across western US and Canada) are sending smoke across the state, and particulate matter has been increasing over the last few days. Particulate matter consists of extremely small particles of ashes and soot found in the air," the Health Department said in a statement.

The particles can irritate the respiratory system, especially for people who suffer from chronic COPD, asthma and allergies. People with such conditions, along with the elderly and young children, are advised to limit time outdoors.

In western Minnesota, an air quality alert for fine particle pollution is in effect until midday Sunday.

"Periods of smoke are expected to continue into at least Saturday morning as a high-pressure system arrives. During this time, air quality will periodically decline to levels unhealthy for sensitive groups. Statewide improvements in air quality are expected on Sunday as winds switch to the south, carrying the smoke back into Canada," the National Weather Service said in a statement .

For updates on Minnesota's air quality, visit https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality.

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For updates on North Dakota's air quality, visit https://deq.nd.gov/AQ/monitoring/Wildfire.aspx.