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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:48 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
The air across the state remained relatively clear last night except for heavy smoke coming from the Red Shale fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This smoke was visible off the Rocky Mountain Front, from the Helena Valley, and beyond into central Montana. Because smoke was able to rise high into the atmosphere, air quality remained GOOD at the ground. This morning, air quality is GOOD at all reporting locations except for Superior where hour-to-hour conditions can vary greatly. The last reported hour was categorized as MODERATE.

Air quality will remain generally GOOD throughout the day today even as fires become active in the afternoon. Temperatures will warm back up into the upper-80s and 90s with relative humidity values in the teens. Afternoon winds will be light to moderate across western Montana. Smoke from central and eastern Idaho will blow back into Montana today with westerly atmospheric winds. This includes places like the Bitterroot Valley and all of southwestern Montana and east into towns like Bozeman. The Red Shale fire will create another large smoke plume late this afternoon as it has in the past couple days, which will be visible from Great Falls and well into central Montana.
There will be another smoke update this afternoon with the latest fire, air quality, and weather conditions, and a look ahead to the end of the week and the weekend.
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 7:45 last night (July 23), showing the large smoke plume from the Red Shale fire across central Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 7:45 last night (July 23), showing the large smoke plume from the Red Shale fire across central Montana.


 








 




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

 Superior 

  Good

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