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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, August 8, 2013 2:37 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is generally GOOD at reporting locations around the state. Some haze is visible over the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, but this is not affecting air quality at the ground. Satellite and radar show clouds and developing showers over the mountains, and particularly over far southwestern Montana and parts of Idaho and Wyoming. Red Flag Warnings are currently in effect for parts of southwestern Montana this afternoon for the chance of thunderstorms.

If thunderstorms develop over active fire areas in the tri-state area, winds from these storms could fuel the fires and create large smoke plumes that will move across Montana this evening. It is not possible to predict exactly where these thunderstorms will form, but any heavy smoke from this potential interaction would be a worse-case scenario for the air quality. Otherwise, haze and light smoke will just continue to blow into parts of far western and southwestern Montana this evening. Hourly particulate concentrations should remain GOOD, but there may be MODERATE impacts when averaged over the last 24-hours in Frenchtown. Elsewhere across the state, the air should remain GOOD tonight. On Friday, as this weather pattern continues, more smoke may become visible across southeastern Montana from a large wildfire in Wyoming. Air quality may become MODERATE east of Billings with visible smoke on the southern horizon. Cumulative air quality impacts may also become MODERATE in the Missoula/Bitterroot Valleys and parts of far southwestern Montana by tomorrow evening. The chance of afternoon thunderstorms remains on Friday. This same weather pattern will continue through the weekend and early next week, with daily chances for pop-up, isolated thunderstorms. Temperatures will reach average to slightly above average. Smoke may gradually accumulate across western Montana by early next week to cause increasingly MODERATE conditions. We will continue to keep an eye on this as the weather and fire activity develops as well.
Air quality is generally GOOD at reporting locations around the state. Some haze is visible over the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, but this is not affecting air quality at the ground. Satellite and radar show clouds and developing showers over the mountains, and particularly over far southwestern Montana and parts of Idaho and Wyoming. Red Flag Warnings are currently in effect for parts of southwestern Montana this afternoon for the chance of thunderstorms.
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 1:30 this afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms have already developed over parts of Wyoming and Idaho, as clouds continue to grow across southwestern Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 1:30 this afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms have already developed over parts of Wyoming and Idaho, as clouds continue to grow across southwestern Montana.


 
There is a slight haze over the Missoula Valley this afternoon, but air quality remains GOOD.

There is a slight haze over the Missoula Valley this afternoon, 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
Seeley Lake
Hamilton
Helena
Butte
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Billings
Birney
 

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.