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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Sunday, August 18, 2013 5:15 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has improved and is GOOD across many observing locations around the state today. Only MODERATE cumulative impacts are being observed in Lewistown, Hamilton, West Yellowstone, Sidney, and Broadus. Warm and dry conditions, as well as breezy winds across parts of west-central and central Montana, have prompted Red Flag Warnings until 9:00 tonight. Several fires are now burning in parts of southwestern Montana to the south and southeast of the Bozeman area. Smoke from these fires is blowing to the east today, and much of it is getting high off the ground and into the high levels of the atmosphere. We are also starting to see some smoke plumes crossing into far western Montana from Idaho wildfires this afternoon.

Air quality will remain generally GOOD tonight, with some MODERATE impacts possible in the Bitterroot Valley, West Yellowstone, Paradise Valley, and Red Lodge areas. For the rest of the week, the weather will stay hot and dry as temperatures remain above seasonal averages. The wind will also become breezy on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, creating more dangerous fire conditions. There will be a chance for isolated thunderstorms on Tuesday, and an even greater chance on Thursday and Friday as a weather system provides more moisture and instability over the Northern Rockies. Air quality will remain generally GOOD on Monday with MODERATE impacts possible near the fires in southwestern Montana and in the Bitterroot Valley. Weather conditions will remain favorable this week for average smoke production, with smoke increasing in the afternoon hours and moving generally east. There does not appear to be any good, soaking rain or cooler temperatures in the near-term forecast to help reduce fire activity.
Air quality has improved and is GOOD across many observing locations around the state today. Only MODERATE cumulative impacts are being observed in Lewistown, Hamilton, West Yellowstone, Sidney, and Broadus.
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 4:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are just starting to show up across central Idaho and southwestern Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are just starting to show up across central Idaho and southwestern Montana.


 
This webcam near Livingston points towards the Absaroka Mountains, as well as wildfire smoke that is blowing into the area.

This webcam near Livingston points towards the Absaroka Mountains, as well as wildfire smoke that is blowing into the area.


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

 Hamilton B24
Lewistown B24
West Yellowstone B24
Sidney B24
Broadus B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Missoula
Frenchtown
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
Great Falls
Billings
Malta
Birney
 

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.