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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 26, 2013 9:02 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
On the satellite image below, you can see a long area of wildfire smoke that is generally high in the atmosphere that extends from central California to northwestern Montana. Fortunately, this smoke is not affecting air quality at ground-level because it is so high in the air. We are seeing air quality impacts across western Montana from the Lolo Creek Complex in particular, as well as the Gold Pan fire and others in central Idaho. Cumulative particulate concentrations are at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown, Missoula, and Seeley Lake, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD all morning in each location. Farther south in Hamilton, cumulative smoke exposure is MODERATE while hourly concentrations have also been GOOD. Wildfire smoke blew through the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas yesterday evening as well, which left cumulative smoke exposures at MODERATE levels this morning, but because smoke cleared out overnight, air quality has been GOOD at each hour this morning. Air quality is also GOOD at all other observing locations around the state.

Air quality will remain MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, as well as the surrounding areas like Seeley Lake. Smoke will remain visible across much of western and northern Montana throughout the day as smoke from central California continues to drift over Montana. Weather today will be near-critical fire weather, with high temperatures, low relative humidity, breezy afternoon winds, and the chance for afternoon thunderstorms. With the breezy wind and thunderstorms, air quality may become MODERATE across parts of southwestern and west-central Montana this afternoon and evening, including Helena, Bozeman, and Dillon. The presence of thunderstorms will have a great effect on wildfire activity and where smoke may settle, so there will be more details in this afternoon’s smoke update.
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 8:00 this morning. You can see the smooth, light-gray color that extends from central California all the way up through northwestern Montana. This smoke is primarily from the Rim fire near Yosemite National Park. 

This is the visible satellite image from 8:00 this morning. You can see the smooth, light-gray color that extends from central California all the way up through northwestern Montana. This smoke is primarily from the Rim fire near Yosemite National Park.


 
This webcam at the Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park shows some wildfire smoke affecting visibility in the park this morning.

This webcam at the Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park shows some wildfire smoke affecting visibility in the park this morning.





 




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  Frenchtown B24
Missoula B24
Seeley Lake B24
  Moderate

 Hamilton B24
Flathead Valley B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Billings
Malta
Lewistown
Birney
Broadus
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.