Over the past few weeks, Minnesotans have been impacted by wildfire smoke from the Canada wildfires. But how does all of that smoke affect us?

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Canada Wildfires

As of Tuesday, according to CBS, there's a total of 450 active wildfires in Canada. That's crazy! What's even more wild is that according to the Canada Red Cross, there are, on average, a total of 8,000 wildfires that happen in Canada every year. I never knew that!

With all of these wildfires, the US has been affected by all of the smoke being produced. As you probably know, New York experienced some really bad air quality and orange skies last week. We had some hazy skies a week or two ago but those hazy skies are back for the time being.

So how does this wildfire smoke affect our health? How does it compare to smoking, health-wise?

Getty Images
Getty Images

Comparing Wildfire Smoke to Smoking

According to Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, "wildfire smoke causing AQI of 150 for several days is equivalent to about seven cigarettes a day if someone were outside the whole time." AQI stands for Air Quality Index, by the way.

For comparison, last Wednesday, the 7th, New York City was at an AQI of over 300.

Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Blows South Creating Hazy Conditions On Large Swath Of Eastern U.S.
David Dee Delgado, Getty Images

But what's the AQI at in Minnesota? Using the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's current air quality conditions map, in Rochester, we're at 79 AQI as of writing this post. In Minneapolis, they're at an AQI in the 80s depending on where you are. Duluth is at an AQI of 36. But over in southwest Minnesota is where the smoke has really settled. They're at an AQI of 156. Oof.

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