UPDATE - 6:00 p.m. Sunday, December 15

The Stage One Air Alert for Missoula was cancelled by the Missoula City County Health Department. The air quality is now rated good to moderate for the Missoula valley.

UPDATE - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, December 14,

As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, a Stage One Air Pollution Alert is in Effect. Inside the air stagnation zone, no visible emissions are allowed from any wood stove or other solid fuel burning device without a valid Stage One Air Alert Permit.

Missoula's air quality has been rated as unhealthy for sensitive groups for several days, but conditions may worsen to the point this weekend, December 14 and 15, that a Stage One Air Pollution Alert may be called.

According the the Missoula City County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt, the air quality in Missoula had not improved by 9 a.m.

"As of 9 a.m. Saturday, air quality in the Missoula valley is unhealthy for sensitive groups, with only a small chance of improvement this weekend," Schmidt said. "A stage One Air Alert with wood stove restrictions in the air stagnation zone may be called later this weekend. "

Schmidt provides details on the actions Missoula valley residents should take to lower the air pollution levels,

"To reduce air pollution in the Missoula valley, please limit your wood stove use, and if you do use your wood stove for heat, burn with dry wood and keep your damper open. People with heart or lung disease, smokers, children and the elderly should limit prolonged exposure."

Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt