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Air quality continues to suffer across Montana due to wildfire smoke

Montana air quality (Tuesday, July 27, 2021)
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 19:55:33-04

GREAT FALLS — Air quality continues to suffer in many areas across Montana, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The decreased air quality is due to wildfire smoke blowing into Montana from other western states, along with numerous wildfires across Montana.

As of Tuesday afternoon (July 27), UNHEALTHY air quality levels are being reported in and around Butte, Hamilton, and Thompson Falls.

UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS levels are being reported in many locations, including Great Falls, Helena, Lewistown, Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings.

Most other areas across the state are currently listed at MODERATE levels of air quality, including Cut Bank, Havre, Malta, Libby, and the Flathead Valley.

Here is an explanation from MT DEQ about the different categories:

  • HAZARDOUS: All children and adults should avoid or limit all outdoor exertion
  • VERY UNHEALTHY: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion
  • UNHEALTHY: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
  • UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS: Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
  • MODERATE: Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion

When air quality is UNHEALTHY, people with heart or lung disease, smokers, children, and the elderly should limit heavy or prolonged exertion and limit time spent outdoors. People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan. People experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their healthcare provider.

When air quality is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, people with heart or lung disease, children and the elderly should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Anyone experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their health care provider.

Click here to visit the MT DEQ air quality site for more information.