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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, July 19, 2013 8:50 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Late yesterday afternoon, smoke from the West Mullan and Gold Creek fires spread into parts of southwestern Montana. These areas, like Missoula, Ovando, Helena, and Bozeman, only saw noticeable smoke in the air with no air quality impacts. Smoke is still visible this morning in those locations and locations nearby, but air quality has remained GOOD. Closer to the fires, smoke in higher concentrations reached Seeley Lake and Frenchtown overnight which has led to MODERATE air quality impacts when averaged over the past 24 hours. Hourly concentrations remained GOOD. Closer still to the fire, the town of Superior and the surrounding Clark Fork River Valley saw heavier smoke that settled into the valley overnight. Air quality has ranged from UNHEALTHY to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS overnight and early this morning. The satellite image below shows the smoke concentrated over the valley as well.

Sometime after 10:00 or 11:00 AM, that smoke should lift out of the valley to improve the air quality this afternoon. Smoke from the fire will generally rise high into the sky and travel to the east. Air quality impacts downwind will be minor, as the overall quality should remain GOOD, even if light smoke becomes visible and obstructs very long-range visibility. Across the rest of the state, air quality will remain GOOD as well throughout the afternoon. Temperatures will climb into the lower 80s and mid-90s again with relative humidity values in the 10s and 20s. Winds will be generally moderate with some strong afternoon gusts out of the west/northwest.
There will be another smoke update this afternoon before 4:00 with a look at this weekend and early next week.
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




This is the visible satellite image from 8:15 this morning. Skies are clear across the state which makes it easier to see the smoke settled into the Clark Fork River Valley and surrounding valleys in far western Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 8:15 this morning. Skies are clear across the state which makes it easier to see the smoke settled into the Clark Fork River Valley and surrounding valleys in far western Montana.


 
Smoke is visible over Missoula this morning, but air quality at the ground remains GOOD.

Smoke is visible over Missoula this morning, but air quality at the ground remains GOOD.


Likewise in Ovando, long-range visibility is somewhat obstructed because of the presence of smoke, but the smoke is light and not affecting air quality at the ground.

Likewise in Ovando, long-range visibility is somewhat obstructed because of the presence of smoke, but the smoke is light and not affecting air quality at the ground.

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 




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  Superior
  Moderate

 Frenchtown B24
Seeley Lake B24
(both 1-hour averages have been GOOD)
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Missoula
Hamilton
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Billings
Sidney
 

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.