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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 3:49 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD to MODERATE across much of western and west-central Montana, with GOOD air quality across the northern and eastern edges of the state. Cumulative particulate concentrations are at MODERATE levels in Hamilton, Seeley Lake, Butte, and Bozeman; hourly concentrations have been generally GOOD except for a few MODERATE hours observed in Hamilton and Bozeman today. Wildfire smoke and a small amount of moisture in the air are contributing to hazy skies and reduced long-range visibility. Showers and thunderstorms have developed west of the Continental Divide and parts of southwestern Montana as temperatures climb once again into the 80s and 90s.

Thunderstorms and showers will continue to move northeast across the state through this evening. Air quality will remain generally MODERATE to GOOD across the far western valleys, the southwest, and west-central, including towns like Hamilton, Dillon, Helena, and Bozeman. High atmospheric winds will continue to blow from the southwest for the next few days, which will keep our weather very persistent. Wildfire smoke will continue to drift into western and central Montana from Idaho and California’s Rim fire. This will cause primarily hazy conditions, with GOOD to MODERATE air quality. Afternoon thunderstorms will develop with ample monsoonal moisture and above-average temperatures. Thunderstorms on Wednesday will be more isolated and winds will be generally light. By Thursday, the chance for widespread thunderstorms and rain showers increases again. On Friday and through the weekend, a slow-moving weather system will bring greater rain and thunderstorm chances to the forecast with cooler temperatures. By early next week, a change in direction in high atmospheric winds should cut off smoke from the Rim fire and visibility and air quality should at least temporarily improve if the forecast remains unchanged.
Air quality is GOOD to MODERATE across much of western and west-central Montana, with GOOD air quality across the northern and eastern edges of the state. Cumulative particulate concentrations are at MODERATE levels in Hamilton, Seeley Lake, Butte, and Bozeman; hourly concentrations have been generally GOOD except for a few MODERATE hours observed in Hamilton and Bozeman today. Wildfire smoke and a small amount of moisture in the air are contributing to hazy skies and reduced long-range visibility. Showers and thunderstorms have developed west of the Continental Divide and parts of southwestern Montana as temperatures climb once again into the 80s and 90s.
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 that looks across the Helena Valley shows some haze and reduced visibility, which is a common sight across much of western and central Montana. Although details are not distinguishable, the Big Belt Mountains are still visible, which means that the air quality is GOOD.

This webcam that looks across the Helena Valley shows some haze and reduced visibility, which is a common sight across much of western and central Montana. Although details are not distinguishable, the Big Belt Mountains are still visible, which means that the air quality is GOOD.


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
Seeley Lake B24
Butte B24
Bozeman B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Missoula
Frenchtown
Helena
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.