Montana Public Radio

Sarah Coefield

Satellite image shows smoke from fires on the west coast blanketing the northwest U.S. Sept. 15, 2020.
NASA Worldview

The deadly wildfires scorching the west coast have produced smoke that has reached the east coast and Europe. The smoke started seeping into Montana last weekend. 

Health care professionals say it’s taking a toll on our bodies and our minds. MTPR's Edward O'Brien reports.

Satellite image showing smoke movving toward western Montana.
GOES 16 satellite

Smoke from the west coast continues to move into Montana and is expected to bring "very unhealthy" and hazardous" air quality to parts of the state this weekend.

This update from Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield was posted on September 12 at 6:23 p.m.

Smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire hangs over Seeley Lake, MT, August 2017.
Inciweb

As the number of coronavirus cases in Montana rise, public health officials and researchers say smoke from the upcoming wildfire season could make people more susceptible to catching the virus, and make patient outcomes much more deadly.

Residual smoke from the previous day's underburn operations north of the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead near Missoula, MT, Oct. 17, 2019.
Lolo National Forest

It’s fall and that means it’s prescribed fire season in Montana. Wildland managers are now intentionally setting fires to reduce forest fuel buildup or to restore native vegetation.

Two prescribed wildfire operations just north of Missoula produced dense smoke that degraded air quality to unhealthy levels Wednesday night into Thursday morning. As weather forecasters predicted though, a cold front pushed into the region Thursday afternoon, increasing winds which helped dissipate the smoke.

Air Quality Update For Western Montana, August 24, 2018

Aug 24, 2018
CIRA and NOAA

Smoke from yesterday evening stuck around all night and we woke up to smoky skies this morning. 

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes/Inciweb

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.

A screen capture from montanawildfiresmoke.org, 08-16-18.
montanwildfiresmoke.org

A brand-new website consolidates statewide air quality conditions and serves as a resource for Montanans concerned about the impacts of wildfire smoke.

MontanaWildfireSmoke.org is now live and made possible by a small Missoula-based non-profit called Climate Smart Missoula.

Inciweb


A weekend of lower temperature and higher humidity brought no substantial new wildfire starts across the state, and allowed firefighters to make a dent in existing blazes. 

Forecasters say to expect increasing fire danger and more smoke as the week progresses. 

Air Quality Update For Western Montana, August 1, 2018

Aug 1, 2018
CIRA and NOAA

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

Good morning, no, you’re not imagining things. That really is wildfire smoke dimming the morning sun.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 31, 2018

Jul 31, 2018
Fire Danger very high today.
Josh Burnham

Since Monday, one new fire has been discovered in the Kootenai National Forest. The Ten Mile Fire is burning 15 to 20 acres in the Rexford and Fortine Ranger Districts. That brings to 21 the number of lightning-caused fires discovered on the Kootenai since this weekend.

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