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(See the Visibility Chart at the bottom of this page for more information about how to assess air quality and its impacts on health.)

Residential Wood Burning Survey

The Environmental Services Division of the health department monitors year-round the fine-particulate air pollution in the Air Pollution Control District (see map at right).

It also enforces local outdoor air-quality regulations that were adopted to protect the health of area residents by controlling emissions of fine particulate pollution, also known as PM2.5

Fine-particulate air pollution includes soot, combustion byproducts, and liquid pollutants in the air.

Exposure to fine particulates can harm human health, especially among individuals with existing lung diseases. Studies have linked fine-particulate pollution to an increase in hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

For current air quality conditions and burning information:

More on Air Quality

•  Outdoor Air Quality Exemption

•  Health Effects of Air Pollution

•  Burning Indoors and Outdoors  Smoke and Health Effects in Children
•  How to Burn Your Stove Cleanly•  Fine Particulates
•  EPA-Certified Stoves•  State Air Quality Information
•  EPA BurnWise Website•  Coping with Wildfire Smoke


The following videos are courtesy of the State of Washington Clean Air Agencies.
 Windows Media Player is required for viewing.

•  Choosing a New Stove for Home Heating (4 minutes, 52 seconds)

•  Operating Your Wood Stove More Efficiently (4 minutes, 24 seconds)


Visibility Chart and Activity Recommendations 

Air Quality StatusVisibilityActivity Level Recommendations
Good10 miles or moreEnjoy outdoor activities.
Moderate6-9 milesVery sensitive individuals should limit strenuous outdoor activities.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups3-5 milesSensitive groups should limit strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities and stay inside if possible.
Unhealthy for All Groups1.5 - 2.5 milesSensitive groups should avoid strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities and stay inside if possible. Others should limit prolonged exertion outdoors.
Very Unhealthy0.9 - 1.4 milesAll groups should avoid outdoor activities and remain indoors if possible.
Hazardous0.8 miles or lessAll groups should avoid outdoor activities and remain indoors.




Find Us

Melanie Reynolds
Health Officer

Environmental Services
City-County Building
316 North Park, Room 230
Helena, MT 59623
Fax: 406-447-8398

Do You Live in the Air Pollution Control District?

Click here to find out!

(click on map to enlarge)

Outdoor Air Quality

Text of Regulations

Exemption Request Form