Residents asked to reduce burning as air quality teeters

Lewis and Clark Public Health officials asked residents on Sunday to voluntarily stop or reduce the use of solid-fuel burning devices, such as wood stoves or fireplaces, and use an alternative heat source as a “Watch” stage regarding air quality was listed for the area.

A “Watch” stage means that particulate levels are not expected to improve over the next 24 hours and may exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This forecast applies to all areas within the Helena Air Pollution Control District.

Health officials said doing so may prevent a “Poor” air quality event in which there are restrictions to burning.

“If you must burn, please do so using small, hot fires,” county health officials said Sunday morning in an email.

County health officials said the Helena area is seeing extended air quality impacts in the moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

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Sensitive people, and those with aggravated heart or lung disease and cardiopulmonary disease, may experience an increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms, county health officials said. Those people should limit prolonged exertion outdoors until the “Watch” level warning is removed.

For more air quality information, visit the Lewis and Clark

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