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Air quality continues to suffer in parts of Montana

Air quality in Montana - September 5, 2022
Posted at 8:18 AM, Sep 05, 2022

GREAT FALLS — Air quality is taking a hit in some areas of the state, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The National Weather Service in Great Falls says a significant amount of smoke and haze, primarily from wildfires burning in Oregon and Idaho, is circulating across much of Montana, leading to decreased air quality.

As of 8 a.m. on Monday, September 5, 2022, according to DEQ, air quality is rated as:

  • Unhealthy (red) in Great Falls, Helena, Lewistown, Butte, and Hamilton.
  • Unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) in Bozeman, Frenchtown, Seeley Lake, and Dillon..
  • Moderate (yellow) in Libby, Malta, Sidney, Missoula, Billings, Broadus, and Thompson Falls.

Most other areas across the state are currently listed at "good" or "moderate" levels of air quality.

Here are the six color-coded classifications of air quality according to DEQ:

  • MAROON: Hazardous - Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected.
  • PURPLE: Very Unhealthy - health alert - the risk of health effects is increased for everyone.
  • RED: Unhealthy - some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
  • ORANGE: Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups - members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.
  • YELLOW: Moderate - air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
  • GREEN: Good - air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

When air quality is HAZARDOUS, all children and adults should avoid or limit all outdoor exertion.

When air quality is 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.

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.

When air quality is MODERATE, unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

When air quality is GOOD, no health impacts are expected when air quality is in this range

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


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