We've become used to the fire season Air Quality Alerts during the summer across Montana. The terrible wildfires of the last few seasons have made them a common occurrence. However, parts of Montana are susceptible to Air Stagnation Alerts during the WINTER, stemming mostly from wood-burning stove usage.

Currently, Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley are under an Air Stagnation Advisory. Typically, these aren't dangerous for most residents but they can affect those with respiratory conditions.

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On Tuesday, January 11th, 2022, the worst air quality readings in Montana were as follows:

  • 1 Stevensville: 152
  • 2 Seeley Lake: 111
  • 3 Missoula: 83
  • 4 Frenchtown: 80
  • 5 Lincoln: 75
  • 6 Helena West Side: 66
  • 7 Kalispell: 66
  • 8 East Missoula: 62
  • 9 Hamilton: 62

According to the National Weather Service: 

  • THERE IS AN AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM FRIDAY.
  • WHAT...An extended period of stagnant air, with light winds and little vertical mixing, is expected.
  • WHERE...Bitterroot Valley, Missoula, Highway 200 Bonner to Greenough, Highway 83 Seeley Lake to Condon, and I-90 East Missoula to Bearmouth.
  • WHEN...Until 5 PM MST Friday.
  • IMPACTS...Periods of air stagnation can lead to the buildup of pollutants near the surface.
  • People with respiratory illness should follow their physician's advice for dealing with high levels of air pollution during periods of stagnant air.
  • According to state air quality agencies, prolonged periods of stagnant air can hold pollutants close to the ground where people live and breathe.
  • Check with your local burn agency for any current restrictions in your area.

Portions of Idaho were also experiencing Air Quality issues as of Tuesday: Shoup, Bannock Pass, Highway 28 Tendoy to Lone Pine, Highway 93 Lost Trail Pass to Gibbonsville, Lemhi Pass, and Salmon.