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DEQ: Fire not yet having a major effect on Helena’s air quality

Posted: 4:52 AM, Jul 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-30 06:52:32-04

HELENA- Air quality in the Helena valley did not drop substantially this weekend, despite the smoke billowing from north hills fire.

Air quality has been either at the “Good” or “Moderate” level since Friday- but don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.

Officials at the Department of Environmental Quality say that the air quality level isn’t telling the whole story.

While the majority of the Helena valley has had relatively healthy air, areas closer to the fire are in a much different situation.

The supervisor of air quality analysis and planning at the DEQ,Liz Ulrich, says that the smoke has mainly stayed east of the monitoring station in Helena, which means that the monitor isn’t measuring the particulate matter in the Northeast Valley.

The smoke from the fire is heading northeast, but we have our monitor located by Rossiter School in the Helena Valley. So we’re not seeing the smoke impacts on that monitor.”