Helena’s air quality stepped into “poor” territory early Monday, only to be dialed back to “watch” status several hours later in the day.
Lewis and Clark Public Health said about 9 a.m. the 24-hour air quality forecast was at a “poor” stage in the Helena area, adding that burning restrictions were in effect until this stage was lifted.
People were told not to operate solid-fuel burning devices such as a wood stove or fireplace unless an exemption has been granted or a variance has been approved by the Lewis and Clark Board of Health.
About 4 p.m. officials said the forecast had been revised to a “watch” stage and that particulate levels are not expected to improve over the next 24 hours and may have already exceeded National Ambient Air Quality standards.
Public health officials asked residents to voluntarily eliminate or reduce the use of solid fuel burning devices, such as wood stoves or fireplaces, and use an alternative heat source.
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“Doing so may prevent a POOR air quality event in which there are restrictions to burning,” county officials said. “If you must burn, please do