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All of Montana now under Air Quality Alert

Posted at 2:28 PM, Aug 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 09:24:46-04

HELENA – An Air Quality Alert has been issued for the entire state of Montana due to wildfire smoke.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued the Air Quality Alert for all Montana counties on Sunday afternoon.

The DEQ issued the alert due to smoke from wildfires in northwest Montana, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia that are causing widespread "Unhealthy" air quality. 

Unhealthy Air Quality:

  • Libby
  • Flathead Valley
  • Frenchtown
  • Missoula
  • Seeley Lake
  • Great Falls
  • Helena
  • Butte
  • Bozeman
  • Lewistown
  • Billings
  • Broadus
  • Birney

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Air Quality:

  • West Yellowstone
  • Malta

Moderate Air Quality:

  • Thompson Falls
  • Sidney
  • Hamilton
  • Dillon

The DEQ reports that smoke is affecting the entire state, prompting Air Quality Alerts in every county. 

Large amounts of smoke has pushed in, following the cold front from the north, coupled with the wildfire smoke from western Montana and northwestern US.  This has caused very widespread unhealthy conditions. 

The widespread impacts are expected to continue Sunday, as there doesn’t appear to be signs of significant relief in the very near future, according to the DEQ.

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

The recommendations for outdoor activity based on air quality is as follows:

  • Good: No restrictions.
  • Moderate: Sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
  • Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups: People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.
  • Unhealthy: People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should avoid any outdoor activity; everyone else should avoid prolonged exertion.
  • Hazardous: Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should remain indoors.

When the air quality is anything other than good, watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath and reduce exertion.