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

Idaho Fires Creating Unhealthy Air In Western Montana

A snapshot of today's air quality by health effects category.
Montana DEQ
A snapshot of today's air quality by health effects category.

A new 500-acre prescribed burn in Idaho is pumping lots of smoke into Montana. The National Weather Service in Missoula says it may take a little while for the smoke from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to clear out.

Meteorologist Jeff Kitsmiller:

"The problem is we do think there will be some wind in the coming days, but it may just move smoke around rather than getting completely rid of it."

Wildfire smoke is polluting the air in several western Montana communities. The Copper King Fire led to ‘Very Unhealthy’ air quality today in Thompson Falls. Hamilton’s air quality was ‘Unhealthy”. Missoula’s bounced between “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”.

City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist, Sarah Coefield:

"Wildfire smoke is really weird. It can be very flashy and heavier in one part of the valley rather than the other. What we’re seeing at our monitors might not be what people are experiencing where they are. They need to pay attention to their conditions and how their body’s reacting to smoke and take whatever measures are necessary to protect themselves and take good care of their bodies."

Air quality readings at are updated every fifteen minutes past the hour.

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