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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 8:45 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has improved throughout the morning across the state and most places are experiencing GOOD air. Cumulative particulate concentrations are MODERATE in Frenchtown and the Flathead Valley, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD all day. The wildfire smoke that was produced yesterday in Idaho and other parts of the Pacific Northwest is currently sitting over central Montana. Yet again, places like Helena and Great Falls saw another red sunrise this morning. Skies appear to be overcast but it is actually smoke high in the atmosphere again.

Air quality will remain generally GOOD at least through the mid-afternoon today. That smoke plume that is over central Montana will continue to move east throughout the day. As we have seen in days past, thunderstorms will develop over the mountains again this afternoon and will last until sunset. Around 3:00 or 4:00, smoke from Idaho will start to drift into far western Montana, specifically the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, and air quality should become generally MODERATE by late afternoon and early evening with reduced visibility. However, this smoke will clear out by late evening, at which time air quality will become GOOD again.
There will be another update later this afternoon.
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 7:45 this morning. There are some clouds across Idaho, far western Montana, the Rocky Mountain Front, and far eastern Montana this morning. Right in the middle of the state, the smooth, gray color is actually wildfire smoke. 

This is the visible satellite image from 7:45 this morning. There are some clouds across Idaho, far western Montana, the Rocky Mountain Front, and far eastern Montana this morning. Right in the middle of the state, the smooth, gray color is actually wildfire smoke.


 
Air quality looks GOOD in the Ovando Valley this morning, given the ample long-range visibility. However, you can see the smoke that his high in the atmosphere, giving the sky a “milky” and overcast appearance.

Air quality looks GOOD in the Ovando Valley this morning, given the ample long-range visibility. However, you can see the smoke that his high in the atmosphere, giving the sky a “milky” and overcast appearance.





 




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

 Flathead Valley B24
Frenchtown B24
(hourly averages are GOOD)
 

  Good

 Libby
Missoula
Hamilton
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.