MISSOULA – Decades of hard work by the Missoula City-County Air Quality Program is paying off with the city making big strides in a key air quality reading.
Sources of particulate matter include smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces, road dust, outdoor burning smoke and industry. In fact, it’s been 30 years since the last time the county has violated the pm-10 standard.
Air quality has improved greatly over the last four decades due to efforts by the community. To control road
dust, roads have been paved, early spring street sweeping is a priority and liquid deicer has replaced winter
street sand through much of the city.
Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield says this is a big step for the county, as it’s taken a team effort from both businesses and community members to reduce emissions.
“Restrictions on wood stoves and fireplaces were really essential to getting our air quality cleaned up. We also
ended up having rules that required deicer instead of the road sand in parts of town, and more robust street
sweeping,” Coefield explained.
The number of air alerts since the late 1980s has plummeted, and winter evening walks are no longer through
clouds of wood smoke.
-Meteorologist Russ Thomas