Wildfire smoke knocking back Northwest Montana air quality

Posted at 11:33 AM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 13:33:14-04

Northwest Montana has been experiencing moderate air quality on Tuesday due to smoke from nearby fires as well as blazes burning in Washington. Along with the increasing temperatures this week, the Flathead Valley can expect increasingly hazy skies.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality reports skies are hazy and air quality is moderate in northwest Montana Tuesday morning, with smoke visible on satellite moving in from Washington.

Monitors in Libby, Columbia Falls, Thompson Falls, Frenchtown, Missoula, Seeley Lake, Helena, and Great Falls were all measuring moderate as of late Tuesday morning. Elsewhere, air quality is generally good, with some light haze.

There is a significant amount of smoke over eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle which is beginning to move into northwest Montana. 

A ridge of high pressure is building into the region Tuesday, bringing extremely hot temperatures with it. We can expect temperatures at or near 100 degrees by Thursday and Friday this week.

The ridge will also transport smoke from the fires in California, Oregon, and Washington up north and then eventually down over Montana as the smoke travels along the ridge.  Most of this smoke will be above the ground, causing hazy skies, but likely only moderate air quality by mid-week.

Northwest Montana will likely see more significant impacts, with smoke from the fires in that area likely causing persistent moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups air quality impacts throughout the week. 

Click here to view the latest air quality readings from across Montana.