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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 12, 2013 3:55 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
As expected, air quality has improved throughout the morning and early afternoon. Hourly particulate concentrations remain at GOOD levels across the state, although cumulative particulate concentrations remain UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown and Missoula, and MODERATE in Hamilton and the Flathead Valley. Thunderstorms have already developed over parts of the state and will continue through the evening.

Tonight we will see the same pattern that we have seen each day since the end of last week. We should expect to see more air quality impacts across several valleys in western Montana through the evening. In particular, the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys will see the most ground-level smoke tonight. Air quality may reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS this evening. Some MODERATE impacts may be seen across other valleys west of the Continental Divide overnight, such as the Flathead, Mission, and Big Hole Valleys. Elsewhere, air quality will remain generally GOOD. For tomorrow, the weather remains very persistent again as it has been for the last few days. Parts of west-central and central Montana will see another smoky sunrise but with little to no ground-level smoke. That plume will continue to move east throughout the day. The air will clear in the early morning and afternoon across western Montana and hourly concentrations should become generally GOOD across the state, although cumulative concentrations will read higher than that in far western Montana. Thunderstorms will develop over the mountains by the afternoon hours and smoke from Idaho will start to drift into western Montana by late tomorrow afternoon when we will see air quality impacts again. By Wednesday, the weather pattern begins to change slightly as a ridge of high pressure strengthens over the region. This will lead to drier and warmer air, so the threat for those daily afternoon thunderstorms will drop. Unfortunately, fire danger will increase from Wednesday through Friday with hot, dry conditions. Smoke plumes will become more visible in the air since there will be fewer clouds to “disguise” them. With the potential for increased fire activity, we may also see an increase in air quality impacts for the latter half of the week.
Hourly particulate concentrations remain at GOOD levels across the state, although cumulative particulate concentrations remain UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown and Missoula, and MODERATE in Hamilton and the Flathead Valley. Thunderstorms have already developed over parts of the state and will continue through the 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 3:30 this afternoon. Thunderstorm clouds are currently obscuring the view of smoke across central Idaho and parts of western Montana. However, you can see a large smoke plume that is high in the atmosphere across eastern Montana at this hour.  

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon. Thunderstorm clouds are currently obscuring the view of smoke across central Idaho and parts of western Montana. However, you can see a large smoke plume that is high in the atmosphere across eastern Montana at this hour.


 
Here come some of those thunderstorms! This webcam overlooks Butte.

Here come some of those thunderstorms! This webcam overlooks Butte.


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  Missoula B24
Frenchtown B24
(hourly concentrations are GOOD)
  Moderate

 Flathead Valley B24
Hamilton B24
(hourly concentrations are GOOD)
 

  Good

 Libby
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Lewistown
Malta
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.