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Massive wildfires already bringing heavy smoke to the Glacier region

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News and Adventure from Glacier National Park

Almost 100 wildfires are currently burning across Western Canada. As of yesterday, nearly 2 million acres have already burned this season, while causing nearly 29,000 people having to evacuate from their homes. One person was quoted on Yahoo News as saying that “This feels like a Canadian Armageddon, like a bad horror film.” As a result, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality published this alert on their website today:

Current Conditions

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Big Horn, Blaine, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Choteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, McCone, Meagher, Musselshell Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, Yellowstone Counties due to elevated particulate levels. The decision is based on 24-hour trends expected to be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or worse range, and potentially exceeding the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards over the next day.

Wildfire smoke continues to impact almost the entire state. At 8 AM, Malta is seeing the worst impacts with Very Unhealthy levels of air quality. Havre and Lewistown are experiencing Unhealthy air quality. Cut Bank, Miles City, and Great Falls are enduring Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality. Thirteen sites are reporting Moderate levels.


More than 2 million acres have already burned in Alberta and British Columbia Canada so far this season. These wildfires continue to send plumes of smoke south into Montana. The greatest impacts from the smoke will continue to impact portions of central and eastern Montana through early Monday where air quality alerts have been extended. A Pacific cold front will provide some relief on Monday with widespread showers and stronger winds. It should help to push the bulk of the smoke east and north of the state.

Conditions can change quickly as weather could stimulate active fires and the likelihood of new starts increases. Please keep track of concentrations at or the Fire and Smoke Map.


Thick plumes of smoke will continue to impact portions of central and eastern Montana through early Monday due to Canadian wildfires. A Pacific cold front will provide widespread showers and more wind on Monday, pushing the bulk of the smoke out of the state.


Ramble On (2nd edition book on the rich history of hiking)
Exploring Glacier National Park
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