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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 3:47 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Observed air quality remains generally unchanged from this morning. Most of the state is experiencing GOOD air quality except for the far western valleys. Cumulative particulate concentrations are at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown, Missoula, and Hamilton, while hourly concentrations have been GOOD to MODERATE throughout the day. Wildfire smoke is causing a light haze across parts of southwestern and west-central Montana this afternoon, including places like Helena and Bozeman. Clouds and few thunderstorms are also developing across southwestern Montana at this hour.

Thunderstorms will continue to develop and grow across southwestern Montana and Idaho for the next few hours, but the number of storms will be much less than in previous days. Hourly concentrations will stay generally GOOD, but cumulative exposures may reach MODERATE levels across parts of southwestern and west-central Montana 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 Wednesday, 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 for the next couple of days. Temperatures will stay above average in the afternoon with a chance for isolated thunderstorms over the mountains, especially in southwest Montana. These thunderstorm chances will increase on Wednesday afternoon as a weather disturbance generates more instability and pulls more monsoonal moisture into the Northern Rockies. 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 that will be visible over western and northern Montana in the morning, moving into central and eastern Montana by evening. By Friday, we will start a change in the weather with a greater chance of afternoon thunderstorms, and slightly cooler temperatures expected early next week.
Observed air quality remains generally unchanged from this morning. Most of the state is experiencing GOOD air quality except for the far western valleys. Cumulative particulate concentrations are at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown, Missoula, and Hamilton, while hourly concentrations have been GOOD to MODERATE throughout the day. Wildfire smoke is causing a light haze across parts of southwestern and west-central Montana this afternoon, including places like Helena and Bozeman.
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 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds and thunderstorms are developing yet again over southwestern Montana, central Idaho, and Wyoming. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds and thunderstorms are developing yet again over southwestern Montana, central Idaho, and Wyoming.


 
Despite a noticeable haze in the air, observed air quality in the Helena Valley is good this afternoon.

Despite a noticeable haze in the air, observed air quality in the Helena Valley is good this afternoon.


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  Frenchtown B24
Missoula B24
Hamilton B24, B8
  Moderate

 Seeley Lake B24 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
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.