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Smoky Haze in Missoula Valley From Fires in Canada – Washington [AUDIO]

smoky sky
photo by Peter Christian

The Missoula valley has been covered with a smoky haze for the past several days.

Meteorologist LeAnn Allegretto with the National Weather Service says the smoke is coming from several sources, but none from western Montana.

“There are tons of fires that this smoke is coming from, but none are in western Montana right now,” Allegretto said. “There are plenty of wildfires up north in British Columbia and Alberta, and even in the Northwest Territories. There are also some fresh fires that just got started in eastern Washington as well as in Oregon, but I think most of the smoke is coming from the fires in British Columbia.”

Allegretto commented on how smoke from fires so far away could affect the air quality in Missoula.

“Number one, there are a lot of fires up there and they are burning very, very hot, they’re huge and they’re putting out a ton of smoke,” she said. “The second factor is the upper level flow is just right to drag it all the way down to Montana and into Idaho, as well. So, those two factors combined have given us a very hazy day.”

Allegretto said even if the winds aloft shifted, Missoula would still be smoky and hazy.

“We may get a break from the smoke from the British Columbia fires as the flow turns more westerly, but that’s just going to drag the smoke from eastern Washington into western Montana, so even when we get a break, we don’t. We’re not quite sure when we’ll get some relief, because right now, we’re surrounded.”

Fire officials in British Columbia say there are currently 125 fires burning in that province, and that many homes have been evacuated. Evacuations have also been ordered due to fires in Alberta.

Meteorologist LeAnn Allegretto

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