Fires Surrounding MT Cause Visibility Issues, Health Concerns on Crow Indian Reservation

Western MT fires contribute to poor air quality.

Several large wildfires in and around Montana caused smoke to drift and settle all across south eastern Montana.

The largest fire, known as the Trail Ridge Fire, burning at over 17,000 acres is 55% contained as of Wednesday.

Last week on the Crow Reservation, none of the three mountain ranges were visible due to several large fires in the western Montana drifting southeastward towards Wyoming. While there are no more fires burning in the eastern Montana, there are over 20 fires burning on the Western side of the state.

Last week, the 39 fires contributed to the low visibility throughout the entire state. The less than ideal air quality also has an effect internally as well as externally for several people.

One Crow elder said she was “trapped in her own home” due to the smoke.

“The air hurts my lungs and chest, so I stay inside unless I absolutely have to go out, '' said the woman.

She said her chronic asthma symptoms are triggered by all the heavy smoke, and caused her to remain indoors.

The dry Montana terrain mixed with unusually high out of season temperatures last week, made a perfect mixture for wildfires which continue to rage all across the state.

According to the Montana Fire Information Center, the vast majority of September wildfires, over 48% of the fires currently burning in Montana, have been determined to be from humans, while 21% of the fires remain unknown in their cause.

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