MISSOULA – Many Montanans love to be outside and active this time of year, but wildfire smoke may want to reconsider your outdoor plans.
The fine particulate matter in smoke is bad for you.
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When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups people with heart or lung disease, children and the elderly should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Anyone experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their healthcare provider.
On days when the Air Quality is forecast to be unhealthy you can take simple steps to reduce your exposure, including:
- Choose a less intense activity.
- Shorten your outdoor activities.
- Reschedule activities.
- Exercise away from busy roads.
When particle levels are high outdoors, they can be high indoors too. So how do you keep particles lower indoors?
- Reduce your use of fireplaces and wood stoves.
- Don’t use candles or smoke indoors.
- Use HEPA air filters in your HVAC system.
- Buy or make your own portable air cleaner designed to reduce particles indoors.
- If you don't have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather.
- If you are hot, go someplace with air conditioning or check with your local government to find out if cooling centers are available in your community.
There are a number of resources people can check for information on wildfire and area smoke.
- Air quality: https://deq.mt.gov/air/Programs/monitoring
- Montana fires and fire restrictions: https://www.mtfireinfo.org/
- U.S. large wildfires: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/?state=27
- Canadian wildfires: https://ciffc.net/?fbclid=IwAR1Bi-HqXGbxdmvYFV7u65f5CVeiDPvnJqD4GMsehMjpJOA6YCl4QPKkfNM