Fires in Washington and Idaho have really picked up over the past few days causing smoke to creep into the valley. Air Quality Specialist with Missoula City County Health Department Sarah Coefield explains.

“It looks and smells worse than it is right now. Most of the smoke is still pretty high overhead," said Coefield. "We are getting the VOC’s, Volatile Organic Compound, down near ground level. You can smell them and there is clearly smoke in the air, but the particular concentration is still really in the moderate range right now.”

According to Coefield, strong west winds are in the forecast and that should keep the smoke from settling down, but it could also potentially deliver smoke from the fires burning in the west.

“The Thomspon Falls fire, which really expanded in size overnight, went on a pretty serious run," Coefield said. "That smoke is going to stay north of us. I don’t really anticipate seeing much smoke from that fire making it all the way to Missoula. It should stay north impacting more Flathead and lake counties.”

Coefield says people who are really sensitive to smoke will notice the change, but that it should not affect most people.