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

Air Quality Update For Western Montana, August 17, 2018

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes/Inciweb
Garden Creek Fire

Today's air quality report courtesy of Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

9:30 a.m.

Good morning.

Last night’s smoke stuck around and we’re currently sitting at Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups conditions in Missoula and Frenchtown. Air quality is Moderate in Seeley Lake. When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, children, the elderly and people with heart and lung disease should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.

We may see some improvement after the inversion breaks later this morning, but our best shot for significant smoke clearing will be late this afternoon when a series of storms makes it way across the region. The National Weather Service has toned down the surface-level wind forecast for our area, but there should still be significant atmospheric disturbance that will allow the lingering smoke to move out of our valleys. If we get a break, it will likely be short-lived, so take advantage of the smoke break while it’s here – air out your house, run around outside, frolic in the daisies. Really, let your imagination run wild. The high elevation winds will continue to deliver smoke to our area over the weekend and into next week, so we’re likely to see a return to smoky skies by Saturday afternoon.

Stay up-to-date on near real-time smoke data by visiting Montana’s Today’s Air website:This morning the map is sporting a fall theme – all reds and oranges and yellows. There isn’t a green dot on the map, which basically means everyone in Montana is dealing with smoke this morning. Solidarity in suffering, amiright?

There’s a good chance smoke season is going to get worse before it gets better. 

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