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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 26, 2013 3:43 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has remained fairly stable throughout the day today. Most of the state is still experiencing GOOD air, even as high-atmospheric smoke drifts across eastern Montana. Smoke remains in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are still at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown and Missoula, while cumulative exposure is at MODERATE levels in Hamilton and Seeley Lake. All hourly concentrations have remained GOOD throughout the day. Thunderstorms are developing across the southwestern region of the state this afternoon.

Thunderstorms will continue to develop and grow across southwestern Montana and Idaho. When storms begin to develop in central Idaho later this afternoon, winds and turbulent air will keep wildfire smoke closer to ground-level and may push that smoke into southwestern Montana. Any smoke impacts will be generally MODERATE and will only last through the late evening and overnight. In the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, air quality will remain MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS through tomorrow morning. MODERATE impacts are also possible off the Rocky Mountain Front and northeast of the Absaroka Range. Air quality will remain persistent on Tuesday as it was on Monday, with the heaviest impacts across the far western valleys, and minor impacts off the Rocky Mountain Front, southwestern Montana, and south-central Montana. The weather pattern will also remain mostly unchanged through most of the week. Temperatures will stay above average in the afternoon with a chance for isolated thunderstorms over the mountains, especially in southwest Montana. Smoke will blow from the southwest to northeast every day, and we will continue to see high-atmospheric smoke from the Rim fire in central California. By Friday, we will start a change in the weather with cooler temperatures expected over the weekend, as well as a wider coverage of precipitation. It does not look like the end of fire season, but such weather may provide decrease in fire activity and give firefighters a better chance to contain wildfires.
Air quality has remained fairly stable throughout the day today. Most of the state is still experiencing GOOD air, even as high-atmospheric smoke drifts across eastern Montana. Smoke remains in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are still at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown and Missoula, while cumulative exposure is at MODERATE levels in Hamilton and Seeley Lake. All hourly concentrations have remained GOOD throughout the day. Thunderstorms are developing across the southwestern region of the state 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 3:15 this afternoon. Clouds are rapidly increasing across the region as thunderstorms begin to develop in southwestern Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:15 this afternoon. Clouds are rapidly increasing across the region as thunderstorms begin to develop in southwestern Montana.


 
This webcam near Ennis shows good air quality this afternoon in the Madison Valley.

This webcam near Ennis shows good air quality this afternoon in the Madison 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 represents moderate smoke, and purple represents thick 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  Frenchtown B24
Missoula B24
  Moderate

 Flathead Valley B24
Hamilton B24, B8
Seeley Lake B24, B8
Malta B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Billings
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.