Here in Southwest Montana we are certainly no strangers to wildfires and the resulting smoke that has been gradually getting heavier in this part of the state over the last couple of days.  We're just not quite used to seeing it so early in the year.  Smoke from wildfires raging in Alberta are; having a big effect here in Montana as you can see simply by going outside or opening a window.  Today's Air Quality Index number from the Department of Environmental Quality is 75 which falls right into the middle of the "moderate" category which means that although the level of smoke is acceptable, groups sensitive to air pollution may feel some negative effects.

The Big M with smoke in the background late Thursday morning. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media
The Big M with smoke in the background late Thursday morning. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

If you are sensitive to air pollution, it is recommended that you limit your time outside, particularly during early morning or late afternoon when air quality is sometimes at its worst.  Be mindful of the Air Quality Index each day and remember to keep your indoor environment clean by keeping doors and windows shut and using air purifiers with HEPA filters.  If you must commute during peak-pollution hours, consider using air conditioned or filtered vehicles or try to commute during different hours or working from home.    Wearing a mask can also help when the air is smoky and, of course, it is important to keep record of your respiratory symptoms and note any difficulty of breathing or worsening of symptoms.

For a more detailed look at the things you can do to keep you and your loved ones healthy during this stretch of bad air, visit the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department's website.

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