Libby, Missoula, Frenchtown Saddled With Worst Air in Montana
Air quality in much of Missoula is abysmal, but air quality specialist Kristin Martin with the Department of Environmental Quality says Libby has suffered the worst.
"We are definitely seeing the worst impacts in far Western Montana. We saw Hazardous air quality in Libby last night (August 24). We are also seeing concentrations climbing in the Flathead Valley, Hamilton, and Missoula areas as well. We have seen concentrations hover right below hazardous concentrations in both the Frenchtown and Missoula, so we are definitely at the high end of very unhealthy right now."
Although most Montana towns aren’t facing hazardous air quality just yet, the smoke is creeping eastward.
"They are seeing smoky skies [in Eastern Montana]. The smoke hasn't settled down to the ground level yet on our monitors in Sidney and Broadus. We are starting to see some impacts on our Malta and Birney monitors today, so the smoke is starting to settle there, but it is much better than we are seeing in Western Montana."
Martin said there are no forecast weather events that will be able to drive out the smoke, however, she was hopeful that a shift in the winds this weekend might change the course of some of the smoke from Washington.