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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, September 22, 2014 10:21 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is currently GOOD at all locations. The breezy conditions on Friday flushed out the smoke that caused significant impacts on Thursday. This past weekend, transport winds carried the smoke from the fires in northern California up into Oregon and Washington and away from Montana, keeping the air clear in most locations. Unfortunately, the dry, breezy conditions helped spark some fires closer to home. Near Missoula, a fire broke out near Upper Miller Creek on Sunday, but so far the smoke has not caused widespread impacts. Fires continue to burn in central Idaho as well, but the smoke impacts are staying local under the ridge of high pressure.

The ridge will weaken slight on Monday as an area of low pressure impacts the southern portion of the state. Precipitation is expected to be heavy, but spotty in southwest Montana. Mid-level winds will be shifting to the southwest by Tuesday evening as the ridge moves east. Montana will then be downwind of the large fires in California and smoke may begin to impact the area once again. However, a large trough is expected to bring cool and wet weather to the region as we move towards the weekend. Smoke impacts are expected to clear at this time.

Air quality is expected to remain GOOD today and most of tomorrow. Smoke impacts may return tomorrow night into Wednesday when Montana will be downwind of the large fires in California once again. Unsettled weather later this week will likely clear any smoke that does impact the area.

Air quality has been GOOD at all locations this morning. Air quality is expected to remain GOOD today and tomorrow as transport winds will carry smoke from California away from Montana. Smoke impacts may return mid-week as winds turn southwest and Montana will be downwind of those large fires once again. The impacts will likely be sort lived as unsettled weather is expected to move into the area beginning Thursday.
Residents near active fires and under plumes aloft need to remain aware of current conditions and use the visibility guidelines to guide their activity decisions as the situation changes.

Kristen Martin
State Air Quality Meteorologist
Air Resource Management Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (406) 444-0283
Email: kmartin@mt.gov




The clouds over southern Montana are associated with an area of low pressure that will bring scattered showers to that area today.  

The clouds over southern Montana are associated with an area of low pressure that will bring scattered showers to that area today.
Source: NWS

 
Despite the nearby wildfire, the sky looks mostly clear in Missoula this morning.

Despite the nearby wildfire, the sky looks mostly clear in Missoula this morning.
Source: KTVQ

This morning’s analysis from NOAA’s satellite services division shows the active fires in Montana and the smoke plumes combining and spreading downwind (the analyzed smoke is based on yesterday’s satellite coverage, the fire detects are based on last nights satellite coverage).

This morning’s analysis from NOAA’s satellite services division shows the active fires in Montana and the smoke plumes combining and spreading downwind (the analyzed smoke is based on yesterday’s satellite coverage, the fire detects are based on last nights satellite coverage).

Red indicates hot spot detected. Grey represents smoke seen by satellite. Fire size is exaggerated for visibility at this scale. To identify individual fires on graphic above go here: http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/lg_fire2.php 

Large fires continue to burn in California, Idaho, and Oregon on the last day of summer.

Large fires continue to burn in California, Idaho, and Oregon on the last day of summer.
Source: USFS

The smoke report below compares particulate levels where information is available to MDEQ’s Health Effects Categories. Real time particulate information is currently available in most of the larger urban areas from several different sources including: DEQ run PM-10 BAMS and PM2.5 BAMS, NWS ASOS visibility monitors, and USFS remote access Nephelometers and BAMS. These advisories represent conditions between midnight and 8 AM and may change substantially throughout the day.

Locations and severity of forest fire smoke reports since midnight of the date above at reporting stations.
Health Effects Categories City
  Hazardous  
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  
  Moderate

  

  Good

 All reporting sites. 

B1(x) One-hour BAM value (number of values)
B8(x) Eight-hour average BAM
B24 24 hour  average BAM value
Vis(x) Visibility value (number of hours)
Vis(am/pm) Visibility value from twice/day reporting stations

Local impacts in areas immediately adjacent to active fires are expected to exceed some or all of the advisory levels.  DEQ recommends the use of local visibility guidelines to evaluate possible health risks and make informed activity decisions.