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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 30, 2013 3:28 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has remained generally GOOD around the state this morning and early afternoon. There was a large smoke plume that entered into southwestern Montana this morning and it continues to move to the northeast across the state. Thankfully, the majority of this smoke, from the Rim fire in central California, was high enough in the atmosphere that air quality impacts were minor. There has been a noticeable increase in particulate concentrations in Bozeman early this afternoon, but air quality has remained GOOD. Smoke is still visible in this area, but again, most of that smoke is in the higher levels of the atmosphere. Elsewhere around the state, cumulative particulate concentrations are still MODERATE in Hamilton, Frenchtown, the Flathead Valley, Helena, Seeley Lake, and Great Falls, but all hourly concentrations have been GOOD since midnight. Isolated thunderstorms are starting to develop around the Yellowstone Park area as well as central Montana. Winds are gusty, particularly across western and southern Montana.

Air quality may become MODERATE in parts of southwestern Montana this evening because of the Rim Fire’s smoke, including towns like Dillon, Butte, and Bozeman. Air quality should remain GOOD particularly across the northern half of the state and most of far eastern Montana overnight. On Saturday, a ridge of high pressure starts to build over the Pacific Northwest which will reduce our chances for afternoon thunderstorms. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler as high atmospheric winds blow almost directly from west to east. With this change in wind direction, we should not see smoke from the Rim fire for the first time in several days. Any wildfire smoke that does become visible or impacts air quality will be from Idaho and Montana fires. Wildfire activity on Saturday will be light to normal, so wildfire smoke will not be heavy. Smoke will be most visible in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, as well as parts of southwestern Montana. Air quality will remain generally GOOD with some MODERATE impacts in the far western valleys. Elsewhere around the state, air quality will be GOOD. On Sunday, the ridge of high pressure starts to move east over the state. Temperatures will quickly warm back up and afternoon thunderstorms should develop again over the southwestern mountains. Wildfire activity over Idaho and Montana may increase on Sunday, creating more visible smoke across the western, southwestern, and west-central parts of the state. By Monday morning, we may see another plume of smoke come into southwestern Montana from the Rim fire in California. As the air becomes more unstable throughout the afternoon, creating thunderstorms, this smoke may cause air quality impacts across parts of southwestern and west-central Montana. The weather should be generally persistent early next week with unstable, warm air and afternoon thunderstorms.
Air quality has remained generally GOOD around the state this morning and early afternoon. There has been a noticeable increase in particulate concentrations in Bozeman early this afternoon, but air quality has remained GOOD. Smoke is still visible in this area, but most of that smoke is in the higher levels of the atmosphere. Elsewhere around the state, cumulative particulate concentrations are still MODERATE in Hamilton, Frenchtown, the Flathead Valley, Helena, Seeley Lake, and Great Falls, but all hourly concentrations have been GOOD since midnight. Isolated thunderstorms are starting to develop around the Yellowstone Park area as well as central Montana. Winds are gusty, particularly across western and southern Montana.
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.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:45 this afternoon.


 
This webcam in Butte shows the Rim Fire’s smoke drifting across the southwest section of the state this afternoon.

This webcam in Butte shows the Rim Fire’s smoke drifting across the southwest section of the state 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  
  Moderate

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

  Good

 Libby
Missoula
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.