Outdoor Air Quality

Outdoor air quality is affected not only by the behaviors and events of those in our community, but also by weather patterns and events that may be happening hundreds of miles away. In Montana, much of our poor air quality comes during the summer wildfire season and during winter inversions, when cold air and pollutants get trapped in valleys across the state. In addition, many Montanans are affected by spring and summer pollen. Understanding how to determine outdoor air quality and knowing what steps to take when it drops to unhealthy levels help us to safely enjoy all of the outdoor recreation that comes with living under the big sky.

Potential Sources of Poor Outdoor Air Quality:

  • Wildfire Smoke
  • Woodburning Stoves
  • Prescribed Burns
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Gas and Diesel Powered Equipment
  • Pollen


Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Unhealthy Air:

  • Stay informed. Air quality reports are available online and on local media outlets. If you don't have access to technology, look outside. If visibility has decreased to less than three miles, air quality is unhealthy for all populations.
  • Change your clothes and take a shower if you have spent time outdoors in times of low air quality. Pollen and particulate matter can get on your skin, hair and clothing.
  •  Stay in contact with your health care provider. Take your asthma/allergy medications as prescribed. 
  • If air quality is poor, avoid exercising outside or limit duration and intensity. Consider moving your workouts indoors. In addition, llimit the time that your children are playing outdoors. 
  • Avoid burning wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are major sources of particulate pollution in Montana. 
  • Do your part by using less energy at home. Using electricity creates more air pollution outdoors. For more information, check out the US Environmental Protection Agency's tips for conserving energy at home.
  • Follow DPHHS recommendations for clean indoor air to protect your health in your home as well.


Current Air Quality and Conditions Available at Today's Air

 Today's Air Snip