Air Quality

Welcome! On this page, you’ll find information about:

  • Outdoor air quality, including contact information to report air quality concerns
  • Controlled burn information, including open burning permits and major open burning permits
  • Indoor air quality, including links to the EPA and
  • Legal resources for tenants whose landlords do not address mold concerns

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Outdoor air quality

The Cascade County Air Quality Program works with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide continuous monitoring of state and local outdoor air quality.  Our local monitoring facility is located at Overlook Park and monitors particulate matter that’s 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5). 

PM2.5 can travel deep into the lungs causing short and long-term health effects. People with heart and lung disease, children, older adults, and people with diabetes are more sensitive to PM2.5 and can experience serious adverse health effects when air quality is poor. Air quality readings are updated hourly at the DEQ Air Quality website, and activity recommendations are available to help make informed health decisions.   

The Air Quality Program also conducts emission inspections of minor point sources with DEQ Air Quality Permits, such as gravel crushers, grain elevators, asphalt plants, and crematoriums.

Learn more from our CCHD Air Quality fact sheet.

For questions or concerns about local outdoor air quality call CCHD Environmental Health Services at 454-6950.

Click on the links below for DEQ Air Quality Updates and Forecasts.

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Burning Permits

Open Burning Permits must be acquired before any controlled burn in Cascade County to ensure emergency services are aware of all controlled burns.  This prevents emergency services from responding to non-emergency calls.  To protect air quality, burning is only allowed during times where there is good air dispersion.  Good air dispersion is dependent on the season and weather.  Cold winter weather, high pressure systems, and inversions can prevent smoke and other air pollutants from rising and mixing into the atmosphere, which can contribute to low outdoor air quality.  High fire danger conditions can also limit when you can burn.   

Open Burning Permits can be obtained online at www.burnpermits.mt.gov or by visiting the Clerk & Recorder’s Office or the Cascade County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Office. 

Additional information on Cascade County Open Burning Permits can be found at the links below or by calling the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 454-6801 or the Cascade County DES at 454-6900.

Major Open Burning Sources that emit more than 500 tons per year of carbon monoxide or 50 tons per year of other regulated pollutants must be permitted through DEQ Air Quality Bureau.  It takes approximately 4,500 tons of wood material in a single year to be categorized as a “Major Open Burner”. 

Major Open Burning Permits are needed when:

  • Burning more than 100 acres of forest slash or more than 2,000 acres of agricultural burning in one year.
  • Burning clean, untreated wood by-product waste from a business, industrial or demolition project.
  • Engaging in Fire Fighter Training where burning material includes otherwise prohibited materials and structures at a site, other than a solid waste disposal site, for the specific purpose of training firefighters.

To apply for a Major Burn Permit contact DEQ at 406-444-5391.  For additional information on Major Open Burning and the DEQ Outdoor Air Quality Bureau call 406-444-3490.  You can also find information on DEQ permits and general open burning information at the links below. 

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Indoor Air Quality

CCHD Environmental Health Services does not regulate Indoor Air Quality. 

However, we can provide information and refer individuals to the appropriate agencies, depending on the situation.   

Information on residential and workplace indoor air quality can be found at the links below.

Mold

Mold is a common indoor air quality concern.  Mold spores are found everywhere in the environment and will readily grow in moist environments.  There are no mold safety standards, so there is no measurable way to determine what mold concentrations are dangerous or what kinds are dangerous.  If you have health concerns from mold exposure in your home or other environments, you should contact your primary care physician.  

For more information on mold, please click on the links below.

Legal Resources for renters, if mold is a result of maintenance issues not addressed by a landlord.