The Flathead Valley continues to see a decline in air quality from the wildfires burning in Northwest Montana. Local health officials are asking residents to monitor air quality conditions and limit outdoor activity during times like this.
The smoke from wildfires contains a mixture of gases and fine particles that are produced when wood and other materials are burned. These particles not visibly seen by the human eye can penetrate deep into the lungs causing a range of health problems.
Elderly, children and those with respiratory issues or heart disease should take extra caution as they are the highest at risk.
Health Officer Hillary Hanson says that the air quality is measured in Columbia Falls and may not be reflective of the whole valley but there are other ways to tests the quality where you are.
“What you’ll see for Flathead Valley is what’s coming out of our monitoring station in Columbia Falls, so we know that might not be true of the Valley, but it can give a pretty good picture if you need to know what the current air quality is where you’re located,” Hanson explained.
“If that’s not in Columbia Falls, you can actually do some visual distancing to see how far you can see and that can help you judge the air quality,” Hanson added.
Officials recommend keeping up to date daily with air quality before participating in any outdoor activities. You can click here to view the latest air quality readings.