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Missoula County’s air quality now “unhealthy” from wildfire smoke

Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 09:16:36-04

MISSOULA – The air quality for Missoula County is now Unhealthy, which means that some may need to take extra precautions to stay safe.

People with any history of heart or lung disease, smokers, children and the elderly should all limit time spent outdoors and working out.

Western Montana is currently monitoring where wildfire smoke from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Canada ends up.

Wind will determine how long that smoke hangs out in our region.

“The forecast for what these winds are going to do at high levels, because we are so far from any fires, those are the winds we are really concerned about. If we were near fires, the surface winds and the lower level winds would mean a lot more to us, but right now we are just looking at smoke coming in from further away," said Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield. "That upper level wind is going to be switching directions quite a bit and it’s hard to say for sure where the smoke is going to end up from those fires burning to our west, so I’m not really sure. It’s going to be interesting.”

For now, Missoula could really use some upper level winds coming from the cleaner air of the east.That should drive out some of the smoke and bring Missoula County back to a healthy level.