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

Canadian Wildfires Sending Smoke To Western Montana

Montana air quality health effects for 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 30, 2019.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Montana air quality health effects for 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 30, 2019.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires burning in northern Alberta is degrading air quality in parts of Montana. Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt says the smoke started infiltrating Montana’s airshed Wednesday evening.

"Throughout Western Montana I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of moderate air quality. What that tells us is that people who are sensitive to the smoke really should limit their prolonged exertion based on how they feel or if they have any pre-existing conditions," Schmidt says.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality Thursday reported "moderate" air quality in Missoula, Frenchtown, Libby, Great Falls and Sidney.

Schmidt says it’s a good idea to purchase an air purifier for seasonal smoke events like this.

"As the summers get longer and the fire season expands, it’s just becoming harder to predict when we're exactly going to get hit by a smoke event. And then, again, if people are sensitive, it’s a nice tool that they can use to help clean their air and have a clean air space."

Schmidt predicts similar hazy air conditions through Friday, but some improvement by the weekend.

Several wildfires are raging out of control in northern Alberta, prompting mandatory evacuations.

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