Seeley Lake Montana

Jean Loesch and her family live in Seeley Lake, Mont., which saw the longest and most intense smoke from Montana's wildfires this summer. Loesch has 10 children, adopted or in her foster care, and they are learning what it's like to have lingering respiratory problems.

Last summer, Loesch says, the smoke was so thick outside, the family couldn't see the trees across the street, so they stayed inside. It was still really hard to breathe.

"These guys were miserable," Loesch says. "I think each one of them ended up having to go to the doctor." Everyone needed inhalers.

Jocelyn Brown of Florence, Montana pulls a small fish out of the water.
Suzanne Downing

More than three times as many men participate in hunting and fishing nationally as women. A Montana program that seeks to change that by teaching women outdoor skills turns 25 this year. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman kicked off the anniversary with a weekend-long workshop in Seeley Lake.

Amy Cilimburg, the director of Climate Smart Missoula, helped Seeley Lake residents Joy and Don Dunagan get a HEPA air filter through a partnership with the Missoula City-County Health Department.
Nora Saks

This past wildfire season, unprecedented amounts of wildfire smoke in communities across western Montana threw public health agencies a curveball.

Yesterday, we dove into what we know and are still learning about the long term health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke. Today, we’re looking at what it would take to provide filtered air to the most vulnerable Montanans.

Widlfire smoke fills the sky in Seeley Lake August  7, 2017.
Eric Whitney

This summer, Missoula County had its worst wildfire smoke season on record. It’s unclear how exactly that impacted the health of county residents, both as the fires were burning and longer term, but researchers are starting to pull in some data.

Gravel mine, file photo.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a proposed gravel pit four miles east of Seeley Lake.

Deer Creek Excavating, LLC, has applied to mine gravel on a 26.5-acre site known as the Cottonwood Pit. A similar application from a different company to mine the Cottonwood Pit drew opposition from locals at the county level last year.