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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, September 2, 2013 5:50 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Late yesterday afternoon and evening, wildfire smoke from Idaho and central California started to make its way across Montana, especially during the overnight hours. At the same time, a weather disturbance was also making its way into the Northern Rockies, increasing clouds across the region. Today, skies are mostly cloudy across much of central and western Montana, so wildfire smoke is almost impossible to see across this side of the state. However, webcam images and air monitoring sites show that there is indeed wildfire smoke below these clouds. Cumulative particulate concentrations have become MODERATE in Frenchtown, Hamilton, and West Yellowstone, but hourly concentrations have been mostly GOOD. However, despite air quality being generally GOOD across most of the state today, the presence of smoke has increased particulate concentrations from late this morning until early this evening. Long-range visibility has also decreased with the presence of some wildfire smoke across much of the state. Showers and thunderstorms have developed across some of the western mountains.

Smoke will continue to impact visibility cross much of western and central Montana throughout the night. MODERATE air quality impacts are possible across much of this region, and up to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the Bitterroot Valley. Otherwise, air quality will remain generally GOOD through tomorrow morning. The weather pattern will remain very persistent for the next week. Temperatures will stay above seasonal averages with southwest winds high in the atmosphere pushing smoke from California and Idaho over much of western and central Montana. Air quality will be generally MODERATE across much of this area, except for the far northwest and northeast, where air quality will remain GOOD. Several small weather disturbances will pass through the Northern Rockies this week, generating afternoon thunderstorms almost each day.
Cumulative particulate concentrations have become MODERATE in Frenchtown, Hamilton, and West Yellowstone, but hourly concentrations have been mostly GOOD. However, despite air quality being generally GOOD across most of the state today, the presence of smoke has increased particulate concentrations from late this morning until early this evening. Long-range visibility has also decreased with the presence of some wildfire smoke across much of the state. Showers and thunderstorms have developed across some of the western mountains.
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 5:15 this afternoon showing mostly cloudy skies across the state. 

This is the visible satellite image from 5:15 this afternoon showing mostly cloudy skies across the state.


 
Wildfire smoke in the Gallatin Valley is causing hazy conditions in Bozeman this afternoon.

Wildfire smoke in the Gallatin Valley is causing hazy conditions in Bozeman 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

 Frenchtown B24
Hamilton B24
West Yellowstone B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake
Missoula
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
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.