Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates

Wildfire Smoke Update
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 8:44 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions

Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
East-traveling smoke plumes were very large just before sunset last night. The satellite image below shows several large smoke plumes in Idaho and another large smoke plume off the Rocky Mountain Front near Choteau. The smoke was able to rise high into the atmosphere yesterday which left GOOD air quality at the ground.

We are looking ahead to another hot and dry day. Thunderstorms are possible in far eastern Montana, but western Montana and Idaho should remain clear. Surface winds will be light to moderate throughout the afternoon and high atmospheric winds will actually blow from the northwest to the southeast. For the past several days we have seen winds pushing smoke directly to the east, but today that smoke will take more of a southeasterly track. Only extreme southwestern Montana should see those large smoke plumes later this afternoon. Great Falls, Lewistown, and possibly even the Helena Valley may see smoke from the Red Shale fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Frenchtown and Missoula may also see light smoke from the West Mullan fire. However, air quality should remain generally GOOD again today even if smoke is visible. MODERATE impacts are possible overnight in the aforementioned areas, but conditions should improve again by early Wednesday.
There will be another smoke update this afternoon before 5:00.
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.

Air Quality Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (406) 444-3490
Email: DEQ-ARMB-Admin@mt.gov

This is the visible satellite image from 7:45 last night showing the large smoke plumes coming from Idaho and the Rocky Mountain Front. 

This is the visible satellite image from 7:45 last night showing the large smoke plumes coming from Idaho and the Rocky Mountain Front.



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
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  



Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake
West Yellowstone
Great Falls

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.