Speed Reads


Raging wildfires torch air quality in Western states

Large wildfires are burning in Western states including California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, requiring evacuations and road closures. Firefighting efforts are complicated by hot weather with low humidity, as well as "very steep and rugged terrain."

Much of the region, even in areas relatively distant from the fires, is dealing with heavy smoke that is raising health concerns and disrupting outdoor events. "There aren't even the correct health categories to describe what they're seeing," said air quality specialist Saran Coefield of the smoke in one Montana town.