MTPR

Sarah Coefield

Panelists at a forum called "How do we live with fire?" at the University of Montana, October 24 in Missoula.
Josh Burnham

Across the state this summer, tens of thousands of Montanans had to face the challenge of living with big wildfires. Some people lost their homes, two firefighters lost their lives, and businesses, schools and individuals were impacted, in ways ranging from the mildly inconvenient to the life-changing.

"It's likely that we'll be experiencing more years like 2017 in the future," says Fire Ecologist Phil Higuera.

Frenchtown kindergarten teacher Justine Luebke shows off a brand new HEPA air filtration unit that will help purify the air in her classroom.
Nora Saks

Now that fire season has extended into the school year, many western Montana schools have been keeping kids inside because of heavy smoke. But that doesn’t mean they’re breathing clean air. Some community partnerships are springing up to try to get air filters into more classrooms.

A plane flies over the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake, MT, August 8, 2017.
Inciweb

Wildfire smoke has inundated communities across western Montana this summer and officials are worried about its impacts on human health, physical and otherwise.

Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield understands the negative health impacts of air pollution better than most, but even she was startled by its impacts earlier this week.

Smokey skies in Seeley Lake, August 10, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Seeley Lake-area kids will at least have a buffer from the dangerous local wildfire smoke when school resumes. The Missoula County Health Department and school officials are teaming up to place highly efficient HEPA air filters throughout local schools.  

Inciweb

This morning's air quality update from Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

"Good morning. Depending on where you are, you either woke up to nice air or chewable air. 

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