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Air Quality: Unhealthy

Looking at the air quality index is showing numbers in the red- over 150 and thus considered unhealthy. In fact, as I look, there’s an air quality alert issued by the national weather service (on behalf of Montana DEQ apparently).

Unhealthy, not just for sensitive groups, means that everyone ought to be limiting strenuous outdoor activity, and those in sensitive groups (kids, the elderly, those with respiratory illnesses, etc.) should avoid it entirely.

Why reduce activity? Because the amount of particles you’re taking into your lungs is dependent on a few factors: Amount of particles in the air, Length of Exposure, Rate of Breathing

Thus, longer and more strenuous activity increases the exposure to potential toxins in the air. Wildfire smoke is a potent mix of toxins: carbon monoxide, hazardous air pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particles. The particles are actually some of the more dangerous components- the smallest of them can actually travel from the lungs directly into the bloodstream.

Where is all the smoke coming from anyway? Check out the Fire and Smoke Map. It doesn’t just show the air quality reports, it also shows smoke plumes and active fires. Interested in more particulars about the air quality- Today’s Air is a good source, though most weather sites seem to be providing that information now as well.

Reusing photos from 2020- because, really, it’s good to remember we’ve seen this before (and also, I’m still proud of how it came out). The smoke sure rolls in fast!

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