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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, August 29, 2013 3:54 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD at almost all reporting locations around the state this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations remain at MODERATE levels in Hamilton, but all hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Thunderstorms are developing across parts of western Montana as temperatures are very hot.

Air quality will remain generally GOOD throughout the night at all locations. Thunderstorms will continue to develop and move east as a weak disturbance passes through the Northern Rockies, generating these storms. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for Friday across southwestern Montana because of strong winds and low relative humidity values. Fire Weather Watches are also in effect for other portions of western Montana for Friday afternoon and evening. Wildfire smoke may increase across the state, particularly across the southwestern region, south-central region, and the Rocky Mountain Front. Air quality may become MODERATE with hazy skies if strong afternoon winds increase wildfire activity. Skies will clear as a weak ridge of high pressure builds over the Northern Rockies on Saturday and Sunday. High atmospheric winds will blow wildfire smoke from Idaho generally due east across western Montana, and then southeast across eastern Montana. Temperatures will be slightly cooler, so smoke production may not be very significant over the weekend. This would keep air quality generally GOODMODERATE across southwestern Montana, and possibly as high as UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys. On Monday, atmospheric winds should switch around and blow from the southwest to the northeast. Given this wind direction, we may see more smoke from the Rim fire in central California. Afternoon thunderstorm chances will return for early next week as temperatures become unseasonably warm again.
Air quality is GOOD at almost all reporting locations around the state this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations remain at MODERATE levels in Hamilton, but all hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Thunderstorms are developing across parts of western Montana as temperatures are very hot.
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. Thunderstorms are popping up all over the region, but especially over the Idaho panhandle and western Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon. Thunderstorms are popping up all over the region, but especially over the Idaho panhandle and western Montana.


 





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  
  Moderate

 Hamilton B24 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Missoula
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Great Falls
Malta
Lewistown
Billings
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.