MASON CITY — An air quality alert is in effect for Cerro Gordo, Worth, Franklin, Winnebago, Hancock, Wright and Kossuth counties through midnight on Friday as the wildfire smoke from Canada is back over Iowa once again.

Brian Hutchins at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Air Quality Bureau says the hazy conditions are visible in parts of the state. “Looking at some of the forecasts, it looks like it’s primarily going to be western to central Iowa. So it’s right now looking like it won’t be as  bad in eastern Iowa,” he says. 

Hutchins says there’s enough concentration of the smoke that it is impacting air quality. “The levels around Des Moines are considered unhealthy for sensitive individuals,” Hutchins says. “And what we’re seeing currently out towards the west, northwest, can be unhealthy for all.” 

He says you should take note of your tolerance and make adjustments to how much time you will be outside. “So we recommend that people kind of reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. And take more breaks during outdoor activities. That’s important for individuals that have like pre existing conditions, whether that be heart or lung disease, or older adults, children,” Hutchins says.  You can check current conditions in Iowa at the EPA website called Air Now