The Missoula City-County Health Department is now recommending that people in Seeley Lake who are able to do so leave the area until the wildfire smoke event passes.
Recent air monitoring readings show record levels of harmful wildfire smoke in Seeley Lake, the department says, adding that even indoor air is not safe.
Sarah Coefield is an air quality specialist with the health department.
“It’s like Bejing on a bad day," Coefield says. "The smoke we are seeing in Seeley Lake is incredibly bad.”
The health department says every resident is at risk of serious health effects - particularly those who are vulnerable to particulate pollution. Health effects can include reduced lung function, heart attack and stroke.
The recommendations are for everyone, but they are especially important for groups with higher health risk from breathing smoke: infants, children, pregnant women, people with asthma, lung or heart disease, and everyone 65 and older.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter in the Potomac Greenough Community Center, Anyone interested in staying at the shelter may call the Red Cross of Montana at 1-800-272-6668. The shelter is on standby, so people must call before they arrive, That number, once again is 800-272-6668
If people cannot leave the area, the health department recommends making the air in a home cleaner by using a HEPA air filter.