BEWARE: Poor Montana Air Quality Ain’t Just a Summer Fire Season Thing
We've become used to the fire season Air Quality Alerts during the summer across Montana. The terrible wildfires of the last few seasons have made them a common occurrence. However, parts of Montana are susceptible to Air Stagnation Alerts during the WINTER, stemming mostly from wood-burning stove usage.
Currently, Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley are under an Air Stagnation Advisory. Typically, these aren't dangerous for most residents but they can affect those with respiratory conditions.
On Tuesday, January 11th, 2022, the worst air quality readings in Montana were as follows:
- 1 Stevensville: 152
- 2 Seeley Lake: 111
- 3 Missoula: 83
- 4 Frenchtown: 80
- 5 Lincoln: 75
- 6 Helena West Side: 66
- 7 Kalispell: 66
- 8 East Missoula: 62
- 9 Hamilton: 62
According to the National Weather Service:
- THERE IS AN AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM FRIDAY.
- WHAT...An extended period of stagnant air, with light winds and little vertical mixing, is expected.
- WHERE...Bitterroot Valley, Missoula, Highway 200 Bonner to Greenough, Highway 83 Seeley Lake to Condon, and I-90 East Missoula to Bearmouth.
- WHEN...Until 5 PM MST Friday.
- IMPACTS...Periods of air stagnation can lead to the buildup of pollutants near the surface.
- People with respiratory illness should follow their physician's advice for dealing with high levels of air pollution during periods of stagnant air.
- According to state air quality agencies, prolonged periods of stagnant air can hold pollutants close to the ground where people live and breathe.
- Check with your local burn agency for any current restrictions in your area.
Portions of Idaho were also experiencing Air Quality issues as of Tuesday: Shoup, Bannock Pass, Highway 28 Tendoy to Lone Pine, Highway 93 Lost Trail Pass to Gibbonsville, Lemhi Pass, and Salmon.