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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:28 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD at all reporting locations this afternoon. Temperatures are slightly cooler than yesterday, ranging in the low 90s in far western Montana to the 70s out east, with relative humidity values in the 20s and 30s. Some smoke is visible on satellite already, particularly from the Idaho panhandle and off the Rocky Mountain Front. However, increasing clouds, especially over central Idaho and southwestern Montana, are mixing much of the smoke in these areas with active wildfires.

Some of those clouds will develop into isolated thunderstorms later this afternoon. Gusty winds will accompany any thunderstorms that develop today, which may stir up wildfire smoke in that region. Overall, air quality is expected to remain GOOD, even as smoke plumes continue to grow and blow east throughout the evening. Hot and dry conditions return for the weekend and early next week. A few isolated thunderstorms are possible each evening, but overall, the airmass will be rather calm and warm. By Sunday and early next week, atmospheric winds will start to steer smoke plumes more to the northeast rather than due east like we have seen lately. However, as smoke rises high in the sky, and even becomes visible at times, air quality is expected to remain generally GOOD. Some MODERATE impacts are possible in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys.
Air quality is GOOD at all reporting locations this afternoon. Temperatures are slightly cooler than yesterday, ranging in the low 90s in far western Montana to the 70s out east, with relative humidity values in the 20s and 30s. Some smoke is visible on satellite already, particularly from the Idaho panhandle and off the Rocky Mountain Front. However, increasing clouds, especially over central Idaho and southwestern Montana, are mixing much of the smoke in these areas with active wildfires.
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. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon.


 
There is a slight haze in the Bitterroot Valley today, as this webcam near Stevensville shows, but air quality remains GOOD.

There is a slight haze in the Bitterroot Valley today, as this webcam near Stevensville shows, but air quality remains GOOD.


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
Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Billings
Lewistown
Malta
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.