SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The air quality index (AQI) in Sioux Falls as of noon on Wednesday was 152, placing it within the unhealthy range of 150 – 200. This is thanks in large part to wildfire smoke descending over the state from Canada.
Taking a look around the state, we find much the same. The AQI in Martin was 180. In Custer, it was 170. It was 162 in Pierre.
Some areas had less of an impact. The AQI around noon in Aberdeen was 92, in the moderate range. In Watertown it was 140; unhealthy for sensitive groups. In the Lake Andes region the air quality is good, coming in at an AQI of just 15.
We know the smoke is coming generally from Canada, but thanks to wildfire maps and KELOLAND Meteorologist Meghan Chada, we can find a bit more in the way of specifics.
Below is a map produced by the Canadian government, showing the current areas of fire hotspots burning in the country.
The range of fires is extensive, with pockets of outbreaks in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.
NASA and the US Forest Service are also tracking the blazes, producing this interactive map of their own.
With the large amount of fires to the north, we can use a smoke map to determine which fire areas are sending smoke our way.
As we can see, the bulk of the smoke coming down south to us appears to be originating from fires burning in the southern reaches of the Northwest Territories, northern area of Alberta and northeastern British Columbia.
Evidence of the fires can be seen across Canada as it can be in South Dakota, with cameras along Canadian highways showing the smoke laden air.