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Declining air quality in some parts of Montana due to wildfire smoke

air quality map for july 16 with blue background.jpg
Posted at 10:38 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 12:38:19-04

GREAT FALLS — Air quality continues to decline in several areas across Montana, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The decreased air quality is due in part to wildfire smoke blowing into Montana from other states; there are also several fires in western and southwestern Montana contributing to the smoke and haze.

Here is an explanation from MT DEQ about the different categories:

  • HAZARDOUS: All children and adults should avoid or limit all outdoor exertion
  • VERY UNHEALTHY: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion
  • UNHEALTHY: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
  • UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
  • MODERATE: Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion

Areas that are currently at UNHEALTHY levels include Missoula and Frenchtown as of Thursday morning.

UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS levels are being reported in several locations, including Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, and Cut Bank.

Most other areas across the state are currently listed at MODERATE levels of air quality.

When air quality is UNHEALTHY, people with heart or lung disease, smokers, children, and the elderly should limit heavy or prolonged exertion and limit time spent outdoors. People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan. People experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their healthcare provider.

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 health care provider.

Click here to visit the MT DEQ air quality site for more information.