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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:05 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD around the state this afternoon. Temperatures are warm, in the 80s and 90s, with relative humidity values in the teens across western Montana. There are a few thunderstorms across far northeastern Montana, and increasing cloud-cover across southern Montana. The smoke plume from the Red Shale fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is growing by the hour, but air quality should remain GOOD downwind, even if smoke is visible in the air. We could see some MODERATE smoke impacts in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys overnight, but the air should clear throughout the morning tomorrow.

Thursday will be a slightly cooler day than today with another chance for isolated thunderstorms, particularly over the mountains. Dispersion will be good and air quality will remain generally GOOD again. Atmospheric winds will blow from the west and northwest throughout the afternoon, to push any smoke to the east/southeast. Hot and dry conditions will return on Friday with atmospheric winds pushing smoke plumes to the east across the state. Again, we are expecting little air quality impacts, even if long-range visibility becomes hazy. The weekend will be hot and dry as well with slight chances for isolated thunderstorms again. By Sunday, atmospheric winds will start to blow from the southwest to the northeast, which will introduce smoke plumes into areas that perhaps have only seen clear skies recently. However, air quality impacts are still expected to remain minimal, except for any locations immediately near the source fires.
Air quality is GOOD around the state this afternoon. Temperatures are warm, in the 80s and 90s, with relative humidity values in the teens across western Montana. There are a few thunderstorms across far northeastern Montana, and increasing cloud-cover across southern Montana. The smoke plume from the Red Shale fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is growing by the hour, but air quality should remain GOOD downwind, even if smoke is visible in the air.
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. Clouds have increased over the west with a few large thunderstorms in northeastern Montana. The only visible smoke plume is off the Rocky Mountain Front. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon. Clouds have increased over the west with a few large thunderstorms in northeastern Montana. The only visible smoke plume is off the Rocky Mountain Front.


 
Increased moisture in the air and wildfire smoke in the far distance are slightly impacting visibility near Missoula this afternoon.

Increased moisture in the air and wildfire smoke in the far distance are slightly impacting visibility near Missoula this afternoon.


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 




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

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