Just when western Montana thought it was in the clear (literally), wildfire smoke returned to the area.

Although conditions aren't nearly as bad as last week, air quality in Hamilton was listed as 'Unhealthy' for sensitive groups Wednesday morning, with Missoula and Frenchtown remaining at 'Moderate.'

There is good news from the Flathead Valley, however. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality said good air quality was reported in Seeley Lake and Libby as well.

All smoke aside, the DEQ is reminding people that annual fall burning restrictions were effective starting on Tuesday, September 1.

“DEQ regulates open burning because smoke can have serious health effects when ventilation conditions are poor,” said Rhonda Payne, a scientist from the DEQ’s Air Permitting Program. “We try to give residents opportunities to burn without endangering public health.”

The DEQ may also add more burning restrictions if requested to do so by local, state or tribal authorities in order to keep wildfires to a minimum. Open burning is also restricted until December 1.

To see the latest air quality readings, click here. 

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