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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 2, 2013 2:58 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Wet and stormy weather brought more favorable conditions for firefighters across Montana and parts of Idaho late yesterday and this morning. Decent rainfall, high relative humidity, and cooler temperatures this morning are providing at least a temporary window of low fire activity and very GOOD air quality. Light showers and thunderstorms are starting to bubble up across the Idaho panhandle and northwestern Montana, with stronger storms off the Rocky Mountain Front and northeastern Montana. Temperatures remain unseasonably cool in the 60s and 70s.

The atmosphere will remain unstable, particularly across northwestern Montana, on Saturday. There will still be a decent amount of moisture which means that relative humidity values should generally stay above 20% on Saturday afternoon. Air quality should remain generally GOOD on Saturday, except for some potentially MODERATE impacts from Frenchtown down through the southern Bitterroot Valley. This moist, unstable weather system will move out of the Northern Rockies by Sunday when warm, dry conditions will return through early next week. Fire activity will be highest during this timeframe in the near-future so smoke will spread across much of the state again. Skies will become hazy again with potential cumulative air quality impacts (in the MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS range) across many western valleys. Particularly, the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys will likely see the greatest smoke impacts.
Air quality is very GOOD today. Light showers and thunderstorms are starting to bubble up across the Idaho panhandle and northwestern Montana, with stronger storms off the Rocky Mountain Front and northeastern Montana. Temperatures remain unseasonably cool in the 60s and 70s.
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 imagery from 1:00 this afternoon showing very cloudy skies across much of Montana. 

This is the visible satellite imagery from 1:00 this afternoon showing very cloudy skies across much of Montana.


 
Air quality is GOOD in the Missoula Valley today as rain showers begin to move through.

Air quality is GOOD in the Missoula Valley today as rain showers begin to move through.


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
Seeley Lake
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.