Wildfire smoke from Canada, and the smoke from fires within Montana dropped the Air Quality Index (AQI) in parts of Montana by dozens of points on Wednesday. Thursday isn't looking too promising either with Air Quality Alerts and Heat Advisories in effect for large portions of the state.

For clarity - some portions of Montana had AQI numbers in the 150s and 160s by Wednesday afternoon due to wildfire smoke and particulates in the air. (As far as major world cities measured today, the worst was Kuwait City, Kuwait with a 154 AQI for a little perspective.) Montana's air quality is very bad. Malaysia and Indonesia are notorious for poor AQI and parts of Montana have been way worse.

Air Quality Chart - AirNow.gov
Air Quality Chart - AirNow.gov

It's not all bad news for Montana - the eastern portion of the state has not dealt with nearly as much smoke recently as the northwestern part of the state. (That's also where our larger wildfires are burning, and where the smoke is dropping down from Canada.)

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  • WHAT...Afternoon temperatures on Thursday will climb into the upper 90s to near 105 degrees, with overnight temperatures only falling into the mid-60s to low 70s.
  • WHERE...Portions of central and north central Montana.
  • WHEN...From Noon Thursday to Midnight Thursday Night.
  • IMPACTS...Hot temperatures may cause heat illnesses.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.
  • To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.

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