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Smoke From Weekend Fires Not Hazardous in Missoula [AUDIO]

smoky sky
photo by Peter Christian

Even though smoke from various fires burning in Western Montana, Idaho and Washington poured into the Missoula valley over the weekend, authorities with the Missoula County Health Department said conditions were not hazardous.

Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield said on Monday that the smoke never made it to the valley floor.

“For the most part, the smoke has been staying pretty far overhead,” Coefield said. “The smoke was not filtering down to into more of our breathing level, and there hasn’t been that really strong wildfire sting to it, and that’s because it looked a lot worse than it actually was.”

Coefield said the fires to the west are growing, and will send more smoke eastward into the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys.

“The wildfires in Idaho are definitely growing,” Coefield said. “The California Point fire has started to send smoke into the Stevensville area and so that will be a potential source of smoke in the Bitterroot and then into Missoula in the coming days. The Gold Pan fire complex burning in the Bitterroot National Forest is now more than 8,000 acres, is another potential source of smoke for that area, but right now, most of the smoke we’re seeing is actually coming from Washington.”

Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield.

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