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Report: Wildfire smoke is driving air quality problems in several Montana counties

Wing-Chi Poon
Wildfire smoke in Oregon, taken Aug. 20, 2006.

An American Lung Association report published last week issued failing grades to several Montana counties for the quality of their air when wildfires were nearby.

The report, spanning several years of data, measured ozone and particle pollution, which are the two most common air pollutants.

“We're seeing that many counties in Montana receive an F grade for particle pollution, and much of that is due to the summer pollution that we have when we're breathing wildfire smoke,” said ALA Senior Director of Advocacy Carrie Nyssen.

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All seven counties received passing grades where ozone pollution was measured. But the group’s data show 8 of the 13 Montana counties where data were collected received failing grades for short-term spikes in particle pollution.

Breathing wildfire smoke can exacerbate respiratory issues, but the long-term health effects of wildfire smoke are largely unknown.

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Dante Filpula Ankney