MISSOULA — A high pressure ridge has settled into western Montana causing poor air quality.
The worst build-up is in Frenchtown where air quality is marked Unhealthy.
Sarah Coefield, Air Quality Specialist for Missoula City-County Health Department, said, "when the air is stagnant, any pollution we put into it stays in the valleys and builds up over time. The primary sources of fine particulate matter pollution in Missoula County are wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, outdoor burning and vehicle exhaust."
The Health Department placed restrictions on prescribed wildland outdoor burning for the weekend. Burning is currently closed at elevations below 4500 feet across Missoula County.
If poor air quality persists there may be more restrictions.
When air quality is Unhealthy, people with heart or lung disease, smokers, children and the elderly should limit heavy or prolonged exertion and limit time spent outdoors. People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan. People experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their health care provider.
Missoula Health Department is seeing Moderate air quality at their monitors in Missoula and Seeley Lake.
The MHD asks that everyone in Missoula County seek to limit their contributions to our local air pollution.
MHD also wants to remind the county that the general and essential agriculture outdoor burning seasons are closed until March 2020.
Currently, the high pressure ridge is expected to remain in place for several days.
Please check the Montana Today's Air website for near real-time air pollution data across the state here.