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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 19, 2013 9:10 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
There is a large area of smoke high in the atmosphere over across most of the southern half of the state. Most of this smoke is high in the air and not affecting ground-level air quality, which is being observed as GOOD from Billings, east. West Yellowstone is a bit smoky and cumulative particulate concentrations are at MODERATE levels there, but hourly concentrations have remained generally GOOD. A new fire near Lolo is creating visible smoke over the Missoula area this morning. Currently, air quality is GOOD in Missoula and Frenchtown. Satellite images also show that smoke from the Gold Pan fire just over the border in Idaho is creating smoky conditions in the valleys of the far southern Bitterroot Valley. Air quality is GOOD in Hamilton, but farther south near Darby and the Painted Rocks State Park, air quality is likely MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

Red Flag Warnings are in effect for parts of western and central Montana from 2:00 until 9:00 tonight. Weather conditions will be hot, dry, and breezy again today. Smoke will blow generally to the east today, as fire activity picks up in the afternoon. Air quality will remain mostly GOOD across the state this morning, except for some MODERATE impacts in the southern Bitterroot, West Yellowstone, Paradise Valley, and possibly as far as Livingston and Red Lodge. By later this afternoon and this evening, that MODERATE area may expand into the Missoula area and much of southwestern and west-central Montana. Smoke will spread across the sky over much of the state this afternoon and evening with favorable fire weather conditions.
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 8:45 this morning. Smoke is most visible in the valleys in eastern Idaho, but some of this smoke is creeping into the southern Bitterroot Valley. Elsewhere, from the Eureka fire all the way to the eastern border, smoke is visible in the atmosphere over Montana, and even heavier over Wyoming. 

This is the visible satellite image from 8:45 this morning. Smoke is most visible in the valleys in eastern Idaho, but some of this smoke is creeping into the southern Bitterroot Valley. Elsewhere, from the Eureka fire all the way to the eastern border, smoke is visible in the atmosphere over Montana, and even heavier over Wyoming.


 
This webcam in Missoula shows the smoke drifting over the valley, likely from the new fire near Lolo.

This webcam in Missoula shows the smoke drifting over the valley, likely from the new fire near Lolo.





 




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

 West Yellowstone B24, B8
Broadus B24

 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
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.