The Missoula City County Health Department says air has started to deteriorate. According to Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt, a high pressure ridge moved into western Montana on Wednesday and that led to accumulation of air pollution on the valley floor today, January 26th.

“Fortunately we are still getting a little bit of clearing out this afternoon so I hope we will not have any Stage One alerts or Stage Two warnings today,” said Schmidt. “As we progress into the weekend and potentially all the way into the middle of next week, the valley inversions could get stronger and we could easily see ourselves having some air pollution concerns as early as Friday.”

Schmidt says that frost can have a significant impact on the air quality in the valley.

“One of the things that can happen occasionally is when the humidity gets high enough and you get a really thick frost, that can actually take a lot of the particular matter out of the air,” Schmidt said. “If we have one of those events where our trees are all encrusted in white crystals, that would actually be good for air quality.”

Schmidt is hoping that people can reduce their wood stove use as a precaution for the upcoming week.