North Dakota environmental quality officials urge caution during wildfires

(Bismarck, ND) -- North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality officials are issuing a word of caution asking residents to consider limiting prolonged outdoor activities during times of smoky conditions, as wildfires continue to send smoke across North Dakota from the western United States and Canada.

Officials say that "extremely small particles of ash and soot," also called particulate matter, have continued to increase across western North Dakota. The particulate matter can irritate the respiratory system, especially for those who suffer from COPD or conditions such as asthma and allergies.

The department says high particulate numbers, along with higher temperatures, could heighten the complications over the next few days. Officials continue to closely monitor the air sampling network across North Dakota.