air quality


Here's today's morning air quality update from Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:


Today's air quality is, again, expected to be less-than-ideal. Buckle up for the long haul, because the smoke is probably going to be with us for quite some time.

Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield's air quality updates are always a good read. Here are her projections for western Montana today:

Northern Rockies IMT

There are multiple evacuation warnings due to fires in northwest Montana, and at least one mandatory evacuation order in effect.

About 4:00 this afternoon the Missoula County Sheriff’s office issued an evacuation warning due to the Lolo Peak Fire.

View of inversion over Missoula from Snowbowl

Western Montana’s had some lousy air quality recently, but all that’s about to change. Missoula City/County Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt says the Missoula valley’s air quality started to degrade late last week

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

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.

Government data from 2012 through 2014 shows worsening air quality in many Montana counties including: Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Missoula, Ravalli and Richland Counties.
Josh Burnham

The American Lung Association says among America’s cities, Missoula’s air is the tenth dirtiest. That’s for a specific form of pollution.

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

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.

 Health Effects Category by Air Monitoring Station Based on Average Measured Concentrations of Particulate Matter 2.5 As Of Hour Ending 3:00 PM MST on 12/1/2015
Montana DEQ

Recent cold temperatures mean Missoula’s now teetering on the edge of violating federal air quality standards. Inversions have trapped cold, dirty air in the Missoula valley for almost a week.

Air quality has been poor in some NW Montana towns today.
Montana DEQ

The air quality in Thompson Falls and Libby has improved today, but Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality says 24-hour cumulative exposure in Thompson Falls remains “very unhealthy,” and in Libby the cumulative exposure reading is “unhealthy.”

Wildfires are impacting air quality in Libby and Thompson Falls.
Montana DEQ

The Department of Environmental Quality is reporting unhealthy air quality in Libby this afternoon. It says the air in Thompson Falls is unhealthy for sensitive groups.