Jul 27, 2013 11:43 PM by KPAX/KPAX Media Center

Wildfires start impacting Western MT air quality

MISSOULA - Air quality in the Missoula area was generally Moderate as of Saturday evening, with the air quality in Seeley Lake listed as Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

The Firestone Flats ignited outside of Arlee on Saturday afternoon, sending a lot of smoke straight at Seeley and Placid lakes.

Missoula City-County health officials say that residents in those areas will likely be in a smoky situation for several days to come as the smoke will mostly likely continue to head east, thanks to prevailing western winds.

Meanwhile, a lot of smoke rolled into the Bitterroot Valley Saturday afternoon as strong west breezes, and a growing group of wildfires in Idaho, worsened air quality.

Air quality in Stevensville was Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups to Unhealthy briefly until the smoke lifted back up. Health officials warn that since the Idaho fires are still actively burning, more smoky air from the west is likely this weekend.

Health officials add in an advisory that, "the continuing warm temperatures this weekend should help keep smoke out of our breathing space during the late mornings and afternoons."

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