Smoke fouls air as fires, heat hammer U.S. northern Rockies

National News

In this photo provided by the Bureau of Land Management, a helicopter works above the Devil’s Creek Fire in central Montana on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Five firefighters were injured when a thunderstorm and swirling winds in central Montana blew a lightning-caused wildfire back on them, federal officials said Friday, July 23, 2021. (Mark Jacobsen/Bureau of Land Management via AP)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Record-breaking heat is back in the forecast for the Northern Rockies, where thick smoke from wildfires is driving pollution readings to unhealthy levels.

Unhealthy air was recorded Tuesday around most of Montana’s larger cities and in portions of northern Wyoming and eastern Idaho. More than 40 large fires are burning in the three states and smoke also is pouring in from blazes on the West Coast.

Temperatures as high as 110 degrees were forecast in eastern Montana. Billings and Sheridan, Wyoming, were expected to set record highs. Officials issued quality alerts in areas of Montana and Idaho and recommended that people limit prolonged activity to protect themselves from breathing in too much smoke.

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