Wildfire smoke coats most of Montana, degrades air quality in Billings

People in Billings woke up Tuesday morning to a gray haze obscuring the city skyline and enveloping all six surrounding mountain ranges.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires reduces visibility in the Billings area on Sunday.

LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette

Wildfires in Canada have again produced enough smoke to cover nearly all of Montana, prompting warnings from public health officials for residents across the state to limit their time outdoors.

“It’s as nasty as I’ve ever seen it,” said Judy Kyser, playing fetch with her German shepherd in North Park for as long as her asthma would allow.

Although there are currently around two dozen active wildfires burning in Montana, the majority of the smoke coating the state crept from up north, where Canadians have been scrambling to contain a deluge of fire for months. Thousands of fires have burned through more than 30 million acres of land across Canada, shattering previous fire season records for the country. Canadian fires this year have instigated town-wide evacuations and killed at least four firefighters.

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