Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 19, 2013 3:49 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality continues to be GOOD across most observing locations this afternoon. We are seeing cumulative MODERATE impacts in West Yellowstone, Birney, and Broadus. There are at least three new wildfires now burning actively west of Lolo. Smoke from these fires has caused air quality to become MODERATE in Missoula as of 3:00 this afternoon. However, conditions appear to be changing rapidly, so please use the VISIBILITY GUIDELINES to check the most current air quality at any specific location.

Large smoke plumes will drift east/northeast across the state this evening. They will be visible across western and central Montana, except for the far northwest. By tomorrow morning, widespread MODERATE impacts are possible across southwestern Montana, including locations just east of the Absaroka Range. Air quality may become UNHEALTHY in Lolo, and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula, and the far southern Bitterroot Valley if overnight winds become calm. Also, smoke that is suspended high in the atmosphere will be visible over the southern half of Montana, but air quality will be generally GOOD from Billings, east. Smoke will start to lift out of the valleys by early afternoon, but the reprieve will be short-lived. Tuesday will be another hot, dry, breezy day, which will increase fire activity in the afternoon yet again. Smoke plumes from Idaho and Montana will become large again and will blow to the east/northeast. Air quality will be GOOD across the far northwest, along the hi-line, and in most of the plains. Air quality will be generally GOOD to MODERATE across the rest of Montana, with higher impacts (MODERATE to at least UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS) close to and immediately downwind of fires. These locations include Lolo, Missoula, the Bitterroot Valley, West Yellowstone, the Gallatin Valley, Paradise Valley, Livingston, and Red Lodge. By Wednesday, the air will become more unstable and slightly more humid, which means that there will be a chance for isolated thunderstorms to develop in the afternoon/evening hours. This chance of thunderstorms will increase on Thursday and Friday. Wildfires will continue to burn actively throughout the week, producing heavy smoke each afternoon. There is still no significant cool-down or significant precipitation in the forecast.
Air quality continues to be GOOD across most observing locations this afternoon. We are seeing cumulative MODERATE impacts in West Yellowstone, Birney, and Broadus. There are at least three new wildfires now burning actively west of Lolo. Smoke from these fires has caused air quality to become MODERATE in Missoula as of 3:00 this afternoon. However, conditions appear to be changing rapidly, so please use the VISIBILITY GUIDELINES to check the most current air quality at any specific location.
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 3:30 this afternoon. A very heavy smoke plume is blowing east/northeast from just west of Lolo. Another smoke plume in Idaho is blowing smoke across the southern Bitterroot Valley. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon. A very heavy smoke plume is blowing east/northeast from just west of Lolo. Another smoke plume in Idaho is blowing smoke across the southern Bitterroot Valley.


 
This webcam in Missoula shows the heavy smoke coming into the valley.

This webcam in Missoula shows the heavy smoke coming into the valley.


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 air is becoming hazy in the Ovando Valley as smoke from the Missoula area drifts overhead.

The air is becoming hazy in the Ovando Valley as smoke from the Missoula area drifts overhead.

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

 Missoula
West Yellowstone
Birney
Broadus
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Hamilton
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
Great Falls
Malta
Lewistown
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.