When Missoula schools begin their early fall sports practices, air quality will be an important consideration as to whether practices will be held outdoors or indoors.

Communications Director for MCPS Hatton Littman, said guidelines have been sent to all school principals, coaches and athletic directors from the Missoula City County Health Department.

"We have them all checking out http://todaysair.mt.gov/, and when that website indicates that the air quality in our area is 'Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups', then our risk manager confers with the athletic directors, principals and coaches and make them aware of the conditions," Littman said. "They contact the individuals who are experiencing asthma or other respiratory issues that make it challenging for them."

Littman said more concrete actions take place when air quality worsens.

"At the point that it goes to 'Unhealthy',  then we consult with all of those staff and bring all those outdoor activities indoors," she said. "If they can't be moved indoors then they will be either cancelled or postponed. That would include athletic practices as well as recess if we're still dealing with smoke after we get back into school."

Fire officials have repeated that the major fires in the area will continue to burn until a major weather event, such as continuous rain or snow puts them out.

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