MISSOULA – A growing number of Northwest fires are starting to impact Western Montana’s air quality, but conditions haven’t reached unhealthy levels so far.
While most of the smoke from the fires in Northern California, Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington and Southern Idaho has been moving north and east, there has been accumulating smoke and haze over West Central and Northwest Montana.
While we’ve enjoyed a "smoke free" summer so far, this could be the week conditions began to deteriorate, as a strong high pressure ridge builds over the Inland Northwest. That has a tendency to trap smoke in the valleys.
As of Monday morning, Montana DEQ is reporting that quality in Frenchtown and the west end of the Missoula Valley, as well as the Flathead Valley and Libby has slipped to "moderate".
Although there’s haze, air quality in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley remains "good".
Gauges in Seeley Lake, and Thompson Falls were also showing "good" air quality.