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Western Montana Fires Pumping Smoke And Ash Into Missoula Valley (8/19/2013)

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wildfires, missoula
Ash is falling and smoky skies are blotting out the sun on the Southside of Missoula.
Ash is falling and smoky skies are blotting out the sun on the Southside of Missoula.

Missoula Valley is visibly filling up with smoke from at least two Western Montana wildfires. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality's Air Quality Sampling station in Boyd Park is reporting that the particulate levels have exceeded 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.'

According to the DEQ's Health Effects Categories, this means:

    Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.

    People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.
Western Montana Air Quality as of 4:20PM MDT 08/19/2013
Western Montana Air Quality as of 4:20PM MDT 08/19/2013

The smoke is likely coming from two fires up Lolo Pass: Schoolhouse Fire and the West Fork Two Fire. Neither of the incident reports have been updated since this morning, though bad weather conditions likely have caused the fire to explode today.

The Missoulian is reporting that the West Fork II fire west of Lolo has jumped Highway 12 and that residents are evacuating.

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