Western Montana air quality: what a difference 2 years makes

The same view from the KPAX St. Patrick Eye Cam exactly two years apart. (KPAX photo)

It’s a summer that Western Montana hasn’t experienced in several years — no 100 degree temperatures to speak of and clear skies.

But some of us may still remember the summer of 2017, the year Montana was on fire.

We dug through our archives and the picture shows the same view from our St. Patrick Eye Cam exactly two years apart.

Local health department officials have said 2017 was Missoula’s worst year for air quality and people couldn’t go outside because the air was so hazardous.

But now fast forward two years, the weather has been almost perfect with warm temperatures and clear skies, for the most part.

There were smoky skies in the Mission Valley on Wednesday from a wildfire burning near Hot Springs.

However, the smoke is creating a beautiful pallet of purple, orange and red hues and unforgettable sunsets, the only benefit to smoke in the skies.

Cooler weather is moving into the forecast tomorrow night, which should do a good job of pushing that smoke out of Western Montana.