Smoke from wildfires in Montana, Idaho, and Canada is creating hazy conditions in some places far away from from the fires
The smoky conditions have led to reduced visibility in some areas.
Most areas across Montana are reporting "moderate" air quality levels as of Tuesday morning, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
Air quality in Great Falls and Malta is currently listed as "unhealthy for sensitive groups."
Current Air Quality Index (automatically updates):
Health officials advise people suffering from the smoke to avoid prolonged periods of time outside.
The DEQ released the following information on Tuesday morning:
A fresh band of smoke moved down from Canada last night, causing a decrease in visibility in areas of northern Montana east of the Divide. This, combined with smoke from fires burning along the Continental Divide, has caused air quality to steadily degrade since last night, leading to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS air quality in Great Falls and Malta and MODERATE air quality in Lewistown and Sidney. The smoke has just started to move into Helena, where skies are very hazy, but air quality remained GOOD because the smoke has not reached the surface of the valley. Concentrations are higher up at Sieben Flats, north of Helena valley, where air quality is currently MODERATE.
The main cause of this smoke is the significant fire activity in British Columbia. These fires have been sending tremendous amounts of smoke across Canada over the last week, but have had little impact on Montana until yesterday. As a ridge of high pressure builds into the region today, new smoke from Canada should generally be directed away from Montana. However, it will take some time to dissipate the smoke that has made its way down to Montana, plus smoke from fires here in Montana will continue to cause impacts. We can expect hazy skies and lingering MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS impacts over the next few days.