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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, July 22, 2013 4:01 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
It’s another hot and dry day today with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and relative humidity values in the teens and single digits again. With the disturbance passing through this afternoon, winds have also become gusty and a few isolated rain showers have popped up along the northern border. Wildfire activity is just starting to pick up for the day, as we can see on the satellite image below. Air quality remains GOOD at all reporting locations today, although the cumulative particulate concentrations in Sidney have reached MODERATE levels. The largest smoke plume that we can see from satellite is from the Gold Pan fire in eastern Idaho. Smoke is visible over the southernmost Bitterroot Valley and over into the Big Hole Valley. However, almost all locations across the state probably see at least light haze in the air from wildfire smoke.

Those fires will continue to grow this afternoon throughout the hottest and driest part of the day. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for parts of central Montana until 9:00 tonight for low humidity and gusty winds. Smoke plumes are travelling east and heavy smoke in the atmosphere will be visible in many of the same locations that saw dense atmospheric smoke yesterday. Air quality will remain generally GOOD across the state tonight thanks to good atmospheric dispersion. Smoke should settle down into Superior overnight as it has been, reaching potentially VERY UNHEALTHY conditions for a few hours after midnight, but smoke will lift out of the valley by the afternoon for mostly GOOD air. Atmospheric winds will blow more from the northwest on Tuesday, which will push smoke on a more southeasterly track. By Wednesday, winds will “level out” again, becoming more westerly again. Day after day, the weather will remain very similar to the previous day, and thus any smoke impacts will also be similar.
It’s another hot and dry day today with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and relative humidity values in the teens and single digits again. With the disturbance passing through this afternoon, winds have also become gusty and a few isolated rain showers have popped up along the northern border. Air quality remains GOOD at all reporting locations today, although the cumulative particulate concentrations in Sidney have reached MODERATE levels.
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 3:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are becoming especially visible in central and eastern Idaho and atmospheric winds are pushing that wind to the east. Clouds along the hi-line, along with some instability, are creating good dispersion conditions to keep the smoke and air well-mixed to minimize imapcts. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are becoming especially visible in central and eastern Idaho and atmospheric winds are pushing that wind to the east. Clouds along the hi-line, along with some instability, are creating good dispersion conditions to keep the smoke and air well-mixed to minimize imapcts.


 
Like many places in Montana, smoke is visible on the horizon in the Gallatin Valley this afternoon, but air quality remains GOOD at the monitored location in Bozeman.

Like many places in Montana, smoke is visible on the horizon in the Gallatin Valley this afternoon, but air quality remains GOOD at the monitored location in Bozeman.


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. Green represents thin smoke, yellow is moderate smoke, and purple is dense smoke. 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 

Smoke from the Gold Pan fire in Idaho is visible in the air from this Anaconda webcam. However, the smoke is so high in the atmosphere that it almost looks like clouds!

Smoke from the Gold Pan fire in Idaho is visible in the air from this Anaconda webcam. However, the smoke is so high in the atmosphere that it almost looks like clouds!

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

 Sidney B24 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Superior
Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Helena
Butte
Seeley Lake
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Malta
Lewistown
Billings
Birney
 

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.