MTPR

Seeley Lake Montana

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

Wildfire smoke has inundated communities across western Montana this summer and officials are worried about its impacts on human health, physical and otherwise.

Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield understands the negative health impacts of air pollution better than most, but even she was startled by its impacts earlier this week.

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.  

Inciweb

This morning's air quality update from Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

"Good morning. Depending on where you are, you either woke up to nice air or chewable air. 

A super scooper plane loads up at Seeley Lake on the evening of August 1, while fighting the Rice Ridge Fire visible in the background.
Eric Whitney

The waters of Seeley Lake were reopened for recreational use earlier Friday.

Kristen Miller, a spokesperson for the Rice Ridge Fire, says the lake reopened because super scooper planes that had been pulling water from the lake were no longer being used on the fire.

Extremely unhealthy air has prompted the health department to recommend that people should leave Seeley Lake, or at least try to sleep somewhere else. This view of the smoke from Seeley Lake was captured on the afternoon of August 10, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Wednesday, Missoula County's health department made the unprecedented recommendation that an entire town, Seeley Lake, evacuate because of pollution from wildfire smoke. Eric Whitney has more on where that recommendation came from, and how it's being received.

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