HELENA, Mont. — Thick wildfire smoke may be choking residents across western Montana, but it’s also helping to keep one fire burning in Glacier National Park in check.

Park and fire officials said Thursday that a blaze about a mile (1.6 kilometers) away from Glacier’s Lake McDonald Lodge has been dampened by the thick smoke blanketing the area.

The fire has not grown significantly over the past two days, allowing crews to add to the defenses in place to protect the century-old lodge.

Fire crews plan to install a high-capacity sprinkler system in the lodge area on Thursday that can wet a large enough area to create a fire break.

Smoke from fires in Montana, the West and Canada has led to air quality readings that ranged from unhealthy to hazardous Thursday morning across western Montana.

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