Posted: Sep 5, 2012 5:26 PM by MTN News
The above satellite image, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows the smoke clouds billowing over the North American continent.
The smoke most of southwest Montana is experiencing is a direct result of the Mustang Complex fire in Idaho. Officials say other fires in Idaho County, just due west of the Mustang Complex are also major contributors to the smoke across Montana.
This afternoon, the Department of Environmental Quality called Butte's air quality "unhealthy for sensitive groups," which is just 2 levels above "good."
Dan Powers with the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department says a good rule of thumb to help folks at home monitor air quality is to look at the East Ridge.
"If you can clearly see the East Ridge (Lady of the Rockies), the air quality is generally good. If the East Ridge appears hazy, the air quality is moderate. If you have trouble seeing the East Ridge, the air quality is poor (unhealthy) and everyone should limit their outdoor activity," said Powers.
For more information on air quality around the state, click to visit the state's air quality monitoring site.