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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Stage-II Air Quality Warning Issued For Missoula Valley

The Missoula valley’s air quality hasn’t been this unhealthy since 2013.
Courtesy Montana DEQ
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The Missoula valley’s air quality hasn’t been this unhealthy since 2013.";s:

The Missoula valley’s air quality hasn’t been this unhealthy since 2013. A relatively rare Stage II air pollution warning was issued earlier today and is expected to persist through most of Thursday.

A Stage II warning essentially means pollution levels are at – or exceeding – recommended standards.

City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt says poor air quality in the Missoula Valley isn’t unusual during El Niño years.

"What that means is basically we have more stable air which allows the valley floors to get pockets of cold, dense air. It takes a lot of energy to push that air out of the valley bottoms. Even if a weak system comes through it might not provide the energy to move that air out. Then, of course, all that pollution we generate down here in the valley floor stays here because the air is not moving.”

Air quality is expected to fluctuate between “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” and generally “Unhealthy” through most of Thursday.

No visible emission are allowed from any wood stoves or similar devices in the entire Missoula valley during Stage II warnings.

For the most up-to-date air pollution levels, visit Montana’s “Today’s Air” website.
 

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