wildfire smoke

NPS

Medical and public-health groups are calling climate change "a health emergency," in a new report released Monday. Organizations like the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association are demanding elected officials and other leaders to prioritize action.

RyanFire2018

Dry hot winds caused two large fires burning in the state to grow over the weekend. The Ryan Fire on the Colorado-Wyoming border is now over 19,000 acres and 30 percent contained. No homes have been lost there. A little rain fell on it Sunday and Monday, but temperatures are expected to remain high through the week. Archery hunters should check with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest about closures.

Wildfire smoke reached dangerous levels across the Mountain West Monday. Eastern Washington had the worst air in the country and all 56 counties in Montana were under an air quality alert – possibly the first time that’s happened in the state’s history.

Over the last 30 years, the West has seen an uptick in the size and frequency of forest fires. Scientists have typically attributed the change to low snowpack and high summer temperatures. But researchers writing in the journal PNAS say the trend could have more to do with rain.

Researchers pulled up maps of forest wildfires from 1979 to 2016 and compared those maps against data on snow, rain, temperature and humidity.

Alexi Hubbell Photography

With its breathtaking views, the Mountain West has long been a destination for weddings. But now, some wedding industry workers are seeing fewer couples wanting to get hitched in late summer months because of an increasingly smoky backdrop.

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

National Interagency Fire Center

Teton County health officials are warning people living in communities near wildfires about lower air quality.

Wildfire smoke has particles in it from burning material that when inhaled can be harmful on the body, especially during exercise. These particles can irritate an individual’s eyes, lungs and throat.

“You know, it’s not a good time when it’s really smoky out to go run to the top of the mountain,” Rachael Wheeler of Teton County Public Health said. “You don’t really want to aggravate your body when the air isn’t clean.”