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Entries in Montana smoke (3)


Montana air quality improves slightly 

(MISSOULA)- Residents of Missoula County and the northern Bitterroot continue to suffer with terrible air quality from all the fire smoke. 

DEQ reports air quality was "unhealthy" in Missoula and Frenchtown as well as Hamilton late Wednesday evening. And in Lolo, the air was even worse, reaching "hazardous" levels. 

However, by Thursday morning conditions had improved somewhat, with all those same areas reporting air was "unhealthy for sensitive groups."  

And forecasters aren't expecting any real long term relief, with more dry weather in the forecast after a chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon. 


Change in weather helps air quality

Gates of the Mountains- USFS photo(HELENA)-  A change in the weather has not only made temperatures more comfortable across the state, it's also helped improve air quality. 

Several regions have been coping with smoke from wildfires in Idaho and Eastern Washington that has continued to pour into Western Montana the past several days. Smaller fires in Montana have also been contributing to the haze. 

But now, Montana DEQ reports Tuesday's gusty winds and thunderstorms have helped to clear the air in some areas.

DEQ says the Flathead Valley, and parts of Southwest Montana continued to have some smoke today. The air in the Flathead is still rated Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Moderate air quality is reported in Billings. 

The forecast is for a continuation of unsettled weather the rest of the week, with more showers and thunderstorms helping to "scrub" the air. However, fire activity in Central Idaho could also deliver more smoke into Western Montana. 


Idaho fire smoke impacting Bitterroot, Missoula air quality

USFS Hamilton web cam shows smoke in the Bitterroot Sunday afternoon(HAMILTON)- The Bitterroot Valley's air quality slipped into "unhealthy" levels early Sunday morning after a strong wave of Idaho fire smoke poured into the valley.

The smoke from several large fires pushed into the valley Saturday evening as large thunderstorms swept across the Bitterroot Range for a second straight afternoon.

The Department of Environment Quality's measuring station in Hamilton shows popped into the "unhealthy" range Saturday night, staying there until just before 4 a.m. Conditions continued to improve to "good" levels through the morning before climbing back to the "good" range by mid-afternoon. That means the cumulative exposure is bordering on "unhealthy" for 24-hours. 

Meanwhile, air quality in the Missoula Valley has remained at "good" levels throughout the day. However, readings at the air quality station in Missoula show the particulate levels climbing into the "moderate" range by mid-afternoon. 

More gusty winds and thunderstorms could help clear out some of the smoke through this evening, although winds out of the west could help deliver more smoke from the Idaho fires in the overnight hours.