Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 9, 2013 3:39 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD at all reporting locations today. The smoke that we saw early this morning across western and central Montana has since drifted east and long-range visibility has improved greatly. However, as forecasted, thunderstorms are starting to develop over the mountainous terrain, particularly across the southwest corner of the state and as far north as Judith Basin County. These storms have the potential to create lightning and spark new fires later today. Aside from that potential, air quality should remain generally GOOD across the state through the rest of the evening. Like yesterday, smoke from wildfires in other states (Idaho, Washington, Oregon) will drift over Montana later this afternoon and through the evening, but this smoke will stay high in the atmosphere and not affect air quality at the ground. It may just create colorful sunsets and sunrises again across parts of western Montana.

A ridge of high pressure will stay over the west for the next several days, causing very similar weather day after day. Temperatures will become warm, in the 80s and 90s, with generally light to moderate afternoon winds. Monsoonal moisture will still get pulled into the Northern Rockies which will lead to more widespread chance for isolated thunderstorms each afternoon. Smoke will be visible across much of the state as atmospheric winds continue to blow wildfire smoke from upwind states over Montana. This smoke should remain high in the atmosphere, but we may start to see cumulative air quality impacts by late this weekend or early next week. This means that, unless new and large wildfires start up in the state, air quality should be generally good hour to hour; however, when you average all of those hours over a 24-hour period, air quality conditions may become MODERATE. Fire conditions may change rapidly under these weather conditions, with new flare-ups and sudden growth, so air quality conditions may also change rapidly with the fires. We will continue to monitor the fire situation upwind throughout the weekend to adjust air quality forecasts.
Air quality is GOOD at all reporting locations today. The smoke that we saw early this morning across western and central Montana has since drifted east and long-range visibility has improved greatly. However, as forecasted, thunderstorms are starting to develop over the mountainous terrain, particularly across the southwest corner of the state and as far north as Judith Basin County. These storms have the potential to create lightning and spark new fires later today.
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 2:45 this afternoon. The large, white clouds over the southern half of the state are indicative of storm clouds. 

This is the visible satellite imagery from 2:45 this afternoon. The large, white clouds over the southern half of the state are indicative of storm clouds.


 
Long-range visibility has greatly improved this afternoon over the Helena Valley as expected, but clouds are quickly developing into thunderstorms over the mountains.

Long-range visibility has greatly improved this afternoon over the Helena Valley as expected, but clouds are quickly developing into thunderstorms over the mountains.


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

 All reporting locations 

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.