Jan 22, 2013 4:14 PM by Russ Thomas - KPAX News
MISSOULA - The Missoula Valley has been under a Stage II Air Pollution Warning since Monday evening, and conditions are expected to worsen before they get better. It's the first such warning issued for the area since Christmas Eve 2010.
"That means we're getting close to exceeding the National Air Quality Standard. What that means to people is that if you have a wood stove or fire places, you can basically have no visible emissions," Missoula County Air Quality Specialist Benjamin Schmidt explained.
He added that alternative sources need to be found when the pollution level is this high.
Schmidt says that air quality levels are expected to worsen Tuesday evening and overnight, meaning that people most susceptible to breathing problems should take extra precautions.
"If you are asthmatic or have heart disease or a respiratory disease of any kind, this level of pollution does affect you and has some health consequences," Schmidt advised."
He also says that there are some measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of health related problems.
"Reduce their level of activity a little bit. You can put an air filtration system in your house, just a little plug-in one. Some research has been done and it shows you can clean the particulates in your house by 60%, by using one of those little plug-in filtration based air cleaners," Schmidt told us.
Now if you feel the need to get outside for exercise, Schmidt says just head up to the mountains, above the pollution level, and you'll be back in clean air.
The Stage II Air Pollution Warning extends west into Frenchtown, as well as into other areas surrounding the Missoula Valley.
The warning means that Mountain Line buses are offering free rides for passengers.