Burning Eyes? Sore Throat? Air Quality Poor Across Montana Monday
Monday morning began a little darker than usual, with smoke filling the air in the Billings area. I snapped the photo above at 7:24 AM when the sun appeared to barely poke through the haze. The air is currently rated as "hazardous" in many counties across the Treasure State. Accuweather shared that 37 out of 56 counties in Montana are being impacted by high levels of particulates in the air. They posted:
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality alert for Beaverhead, Blaine, Broadwater, Cascade, Chouteau, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Sanders, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Wheatland, and Yellowstone counties.
The alert is in effect until 10 AM MDT 9/13/2022 and will be updated again at 10 AM MDT 9/13/2022.
"Moderate" smoke in the Billings area.
An air monitoring station near Lockwood is currently reporting an air quality index of 66 which equates to "moderate" levels of particulates in the air. It's much worse on the western half of Montana. Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and Kalispell are all reporting "hazardous" levels on Monday afternoon, with air quality indexes above 150. You can track air quality on NOAA's Fire and Smoke Map HERE.
Stay indoors if you're sensitive to smoke.
The National Weather Service, Billings shared the graphic (above) on their Twitter page this morning, warning that the smoke is likely to increase throughout the day in the Billings area. Much of the smokey haze is likely coming from Idaho, where dozens of wildfires are burning in the panhandle.