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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, August 10, 2013 4:45 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Late yesterday afternoon, heavy smoke was produced from fires in central Idaho and atmospheric winds pushed that smoke over Montana. This smoke was perhaps not immediately visible last night because of thick clouds and strong storms that moved through the area just ahead of the smoke. However, one could clearly see the thick smoke this morning that was drifting high in the atmosphere—tens of thousands of feet above the ground. Many locations across a wide swath of western Montana probably woke up to red sunrises, but because the smoke was so high in the air, air quality was GOOD this morning. That smoke plume has continued to move east throughout the day today and is now more than halfway over the eastern border. Air quality is GOOD at all observing locations this afternoon as we await another round of isolated thunderstorms and smoke later this evening.

Like yesterday, air quality should remain generally GOOD tonight as that new round of smoke also hangs high in the atmosphere. A new, small fire near Missoula may create MODERATE smoke conditions overnight. The weather on Sunday and through much of next week will be very persistent. Monsoonal moisture and some instability will create daily chances for afternoon thunderstorms to develop over the mountains. Temperatures will be in the mid-80s to low 90s across the state with light to moderate winds. We should continue to see this daily pattern of smoke, where western and parts of central Montana will see smoky sunrises, that smoke will move east throughout the day and skies will clear to the west, and then another round of smoke will move in during the evening. Thankfully, this smoke has shown that it stays high in the sky, and so even if skies are hazy, air quality should remain generally GOOD. Where we could see smoke impacts will be the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, as well as any location that develops a sudden wildfire because of these daily storms.
Air quality is GOOD at all observing locations this afternoon as we await another round of isolated thunderstorms and smoke later this evening.
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 4:00 this afternoon. You can clearly see a large area of smoke that moved over the state, indicated by the light gray in southeastern Montana/western Dakotas. You can also see the next round of smoke being produced right now across central Idaho with those triangular-shaped plumes. 

This is the visible satellite image from 4:00 this afternoon. You can clearly see a large area of smoke that moved over the state, indicated by the light gray in southeastern Montana/western Dakotas. You can also see the next round of smoke being produced right now across central Idaho with those triangular-shaped plumes.


 
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.