Smoke Expected to Be Unhealthy in Missoula Most of the Week
School is in session this week, but the playgrounds may be empty because of smoke. Montana Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Meteorologist Kristen Martin explains.
"We've got a ridge of high pressure over us now, so we've got really stable conditions that are going to persist through, at least Wednesday, where the smoke is going to settle down near the surface and we're going to have pretty wide-spread unhealthy air quality, especially near the fires," Martin said. "Normally, the morning is the worst, but with these conditions we're not seeing much improvement in the afternoon."
Smoke from local fires isn’t the only thing to worry about.
"We are starting to see more smoke coming in, from the Pacific Northwest, especially the high fire activity in Oregon right now," Martin said. "So we're not only dealing with a lot of smoke from our fires here in Montana, but also we're getting more smoke mixed into that from out of state. So, were impacting the whole of west central Montana and we're actually sending smoke plumes out into eastern Montana now too."
The high pressure system will likely break up Thursday, however, when it does, it will likely bring strong winds that can cause even more erratic fire behavior.