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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 30, 2013 8:41 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is generally GOOD around the state this morning. Cumulative particulate concentrations are MODERATE in Hamilton, Frenchtown, the Flathead Valley, Great Falls, and Seeley Lake, but all hourly concentrations have been GOOD all night. There is a light amount of haze that is contributing to slightly elevated particulate levels in west-central and central Montana, but this will not affect air quality. Wildfire smoke from the Rim fire in central California is drifting into this area this morning. Because of this, we may see some MODERATE impacts that may even reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS for a short time across parts of southwestern Montana. Some towns that may see this smoke throughout the day include Wisdom, Butte, Dillon, Ennis, Bozeman, and possibly as far north as Helena. This smoke will move to the northeast throughout the day, causing hazy conditions in its path. As the afternoon heats up, the air becomes more unstable, clouds and possible thunderstorms develop, and winds increase, smoky skies may slowly improve through the late afternoon and evening. Most other locations around the state should continue to see GOOD air quality, especially in the far northwest. A change in wind direction could mean a break from the Rim fire’s smoke over the weekend. Check back in this afternoon for a full forecast.
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 wide swath of smoke coming from central California that is just now reaching into southwestern Montana. Winds blowing from the southwest will continue to push that smoke across the southwestern section of the state today. 

This is the visible satellite image from 8:00 this morning. You can see the wide swath of smoke coming from central California that is just now reaching into southwestern Montana. Winds blowing from the southwest will continue to push that smoke across the southwestern section of the state today.


 
This webcam at the Big Hole Pass shows some of the incoming smoke on the horizon.

This webcam at the Big Hole Pass shows some of the incoming smoke on the horizon.





 




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

 Flathead Valley B24
Seeley Lake B24
Frenchtown B24
Hamilton B24
Great Falls B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Missoula
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Malta
Lewistown
Billings
Birney
Broadus
Sidney
Lolo
Augusta
 

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.