HELENA — Smoke from wildfires has degraded the air quality in parts of western Montana so badly that officials are advising children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory problems to stay indoors.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality officials issued the warning Thursday for the Flathead Valley, Hamilton, Butte and Bozeman.
»»» Click here to view air quality reports for the Flathead.
They advise everyone else to avoid prolonged exertion in those areas where the air quality is very unhealthy.
The air is only slightly better in other western Montana cities and towns from Libby to Missoula, and in the central Montana communities of Great Falls, Helena and Lewistown.
Firefighters are bracing for rising temperatures and gusting winds expected later Thursday.
DEQ officials say the wind may temporarily improve air quality, but the unhealthy conditions are expected to remain until at least Friday.
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