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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:54 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has improved across parts of west-central Montana this afternoon. Smoke concentrations have dropped in Helena and Great Falls in the last few hours, but cumulative concentrations are still MODERATE and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, respectively. In Choteau, observed air quality was UNHEALTHY in the past hour, while Augusta remains GOOD. Across far western Montana, hourly particulate concentrations have been GOOD all day in Frenchtown, Missoula, Hamilton, and Seeley Lake, but cumulative concentrations remain at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown, Missoula, and Seeley Lake, and MODERATE in Hamilton. Elsewhere around the state, air quality is generally GOOD. A large area of rain showers and thunderstorms is moving across parts of western and central Montana this afternoon.

Rain and thunderstorms will continue to grow and spread into central Montana through the evening, with stronger storms expected across far eastern Montana. Air quality will remain generally GOOD across the state throughout the night, except for the Rocky Mountain Front and far western Montana. In the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, hourly air quality will be generally GOOD but cumulative exposure will remain MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS through tomorrow morning. Generally UNHEALTHY air quality is expected near the front range along the Rocky Mountain Front. Air quality will remain persistent on Thursday, with the heaviest impacts across the far western valleys and off the Rocky Mountain Front. The weather pattern will also remain mostly unchanged for at least for one more day. 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 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 over the weekend. Friday’s weather system will bring stronger winds and another chance for thunderstorms. The weekend will stay mostly dry with only a slight chance for thunderstorms to develop over the southwestern mountains. Temperatures may warm back up by Monday and through early next week with persistent chances for afternoon thunderstorms.
Smoke concentrations have dropped in Helena and Great Falls in the last few hours, but cumulative concentrations are still MODERATE and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, respectively. In Choteau, observed air quality was UNHEALTHY in the past hour, while Augusta remains GOOD. Across far western Montana, hourly particulate concentrations have been GOOD all day in Frenchtown, Missoula, Hamilton, and Seeley Lake, but cumulative concentrations remain at levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Frenchtown, Missoula, and Seeley Lake, and MODERATE in Hamilton. Elsewhere around the state, air quality is generally GOOD. A large area of rain showers and thunderstorms is moving across parts of western and central Montana 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. A line of showers and thunderstorms is visible in west-central Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:15 this afternoon. A line of showers and thunderstorms is visible in west-central Montana.


 
Air quality and visibility have improved in Missoula.

Air quality and visibility have improved in Missoula.


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  Choteau
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Frenchtown B24
Missoula B24
Great Falls B24
Seeley Lake B24
  Moderate

 Hamilton B24
Flathead Valley B24
Helena B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Augusta
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.