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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 3:32 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality continues to be GOOD at all reporting locations this afternoon. Some smoke, that is relatively high in the atmosphere, has moved into much of western Montana and is visible in the sky. However, it is not affecting air quality at the ground, though some tall mountain peaks in the far distance may seem obscured.

On Thursday, the ridge of high pressure will strengthen over the region, bringing in even warmer temperatures and drier air. These hot and dry conditions will likely increase fire activity and thus increase smoke production by tomorrow afternoon. The few fires that we have in Montana are fairly small at this point, so air quality impacts are highly localized at this point, but if these fires take off, we will adjust the air quality forecast as needed. The largest fires, though, continue to burn over Idaho and as far away as Washington, Oregon, and northern California. By tomorrow afternoon and evening, we should start to see more widespread air quality impacts from increased smoke production. Widespread MODERATE impacts across the valleys of western Montana may not be uncommon on Thursday. Friday will be even hotter and drier, and smoke production will likely increase as well. Cumulative particulate concentrations may reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, especially in places like the Missoula, Bitterroot, and Big Hole Valleys, as well as other southwestern valleys. A weather disturbance will pass from Friday to Saturday to bring temperatures back down, but with this disturbance will come stronger winds. This is another concern for increased fire activity. These stronger winds will continue on Saturday, and although temperatures will be slightly cooler, relative humidity values will remain low and the chance for isolated thunderstorms will return. Overall, we are looking at the potential for increased fire activity in the next several days, which will lead to air quality impacts of varying degrees.
Air quality continues to be GOOD at all reporting locations this afternoon. Some smoke, that is relatively high in the atmosphere, has moved into much of western Montana and is visible in the sky. However, it is not affecting air quality at the ground, though some tall mountain peaks in the far distance may seem obscured.
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. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:00 this afternoon.


 
This webcam in the Bitterroot Valley shows a slight haze that is starting to fill the valley and surrounding areas.

This webcam in the Bitterroot Valley shows a slight haze that is starting to fill the valley and surrounding areas.


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.