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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 3:48 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality continues to be mostly GOOD across the state this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are still running at MODERATE levels, but all hourly particulate averages have been GOOD today. Clouds and thunderstorms are quickly developing over parts of western Montana this afternoon, and temperatures are generally in the 80s.

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 MODERATE levels this evening. Additional MODERATE impacts may be seen across other valleys west of the Continental Divide overnight, such as the Flathead, Mission, and Big Hole Valley. Elsewhere, air quality will remain generally GOOD. Central and west-central Montana will wake up to another smoky, red sunrise but air quality should be GOOD across the state through the afternoon. The weather pattern finally starts to change a bit on Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure strengthens over the west. The atmospheric moisture that has been responsible for these daily thunderstorms will start to dry up on Wednesday. Any chance for storms will be across northern Montana. Elsewhere, temperatures will warm up and relative humidity values will be lower than we have seen recently. Hot and dry conditions will be more favorable for wildfire activity, and with less afternoon cloud-cover, smoke will become more visible in the air. Air quality should become at least MODERATE or up to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS across far western Montana by tomorrow evening. MODERATE conditions may also spread into much of western Montana as well. Hot and dry conditions will continue on Thursday and Friday, so continued air quality impacts are expected.
Air quality continues to be mostly GOOD across the state this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are still running at MODERATE levels, but all hourly particulate averages have been GOOD today. Clouds and thunderstorms are quickly developing over parts of western Montana this afternoon, and temperatures are generally in the 80s.
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 3:00 this afternoon. We can see plenty of clouds over parts of the Northern Rockies this afternoon, and as these clouds develop into large thunderstorms, cloud-cover will only increase as the day progresses.  

This is the visible satellite image from 3:00 this afternoon. We can see plenty of clouds over parts of the Northern Rockies this afternoon, and as these clouds develop into large thunderstorms, cloud-cover will only increase as the day progresses.


 





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

 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.