MTPR

Seeley Lake Elementary School

A plane flies over the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake, MT, August 8, 2017.
Inciweb

Since before the smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire cleared in 2017, a team of University of Montana researchers have been tracking lung health of local residents.

They presented their early findings to the Seeley Lake Community Council for the first time Monday night.

Frenchtown kindergarten teacher Justine Luebke shows off a brand new HEPA air filtration unit that will help purify the air in her classroom.
Nora Saks

Now that fire season has extended into the school year, many western Montana schools have been keeping kids inside because of heavy smoke. But that doesn’t mean they’re breathing clean air. Some community partnerships are springing up to try to get air filters into more classrooms.

Smokey skies in Seeley Lake, August 10, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Seeley Lake-area kids will at least have a buffer from the dangerous local wildfire smoke when school resumes. The Missoula County Health Department and school officials are teaming up to place highly efficient HEPA air filters throughout local schools.