Minnesota Fire Causes Air Quality Index Warning To Hit “Red” Status In Wisconsin

A forest fire that is blazing in Minnesota is causing air to become unsafe for people in Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

After examining the area the Wisconsin DNR raised the air quality index to red on Wednesday and extended that index into Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenhosa counties until 11 p.m.

Officials say that “fine particles” in the area are responsible for the raised air level.

According to DNR spokesman Bill Cosh the “red index” is “rare” and the last time it was raised to that level was in the same area on December 20, 2007.

Cosh also revealed that weather conditions in the area are improving which should lower the index sooner rather than later.

The forest fire ignited in northeastern Minnesota on August 18 and the U.S. Forest Service says calming winds could slow the growth of the blaze which has already engulfed more than 100,000 acres, while traveling more than 160 square miles along the Minnesota-Canada border. The fire started with a lightning strike on August 18 and picked up earlier this week when 30 mph wind gusts caused the fire to spread east.

Kris Reichenbach, a spokeswoman for the Superior National Forest tells the Wall Street Journal that the fire had “unprecedented growth.”

At this time 200 highly experienced firefighters from federal and state agencies are arriving Wednesday and Thursday from all over to help get the blaze under control.

If you live in the affected area feel free to leave us a comment explaining how air quality is in your specific area.