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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 3:45 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Smoke continues to impact parts of western and central Montana this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula, Hamilton, and Bozeman, while hourly concentrations have been mostly GOOD throughout the day. Similarly, cumulative concentrations are MODERATE in the Flathead valley, Frenchtown, Seeley Lake, Butte, Great Falls, and Helena, but hourly concentrations have also been mostly GOOD. Air quality is GOOD at all other reporting locations. Skies are partly cloudy, especially across southwestern and northeastern Montana, with very warm temperatures.

As the afternoon progresses, wildfire activity will increase across Idaho and western Montana, so we can expect another wave of moderate smoke across the far western Montana valleys, the southwest, and central region of the state through tonight. Cumulative smoke exposures will continue to be MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS across this area, but hourly concentrations will remain generally GOOD to MODERATE. Across far northwestern and most of eastern Montana, air quality will remain GOOD. Yet again on Thursday, the atmosphere will be unstable with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms and hot temperatures. Southwest winds in the high levels of the atmosphere will keep the Rim fire and Idaho’s wildfire smoke upwind of western and central Montana. Smoke will be noticeable for most of the day as incoming smoke increases by Thursday evening. The weather and air quality will be very similar on Friday. A cold front should start to move across western Montana by late Friday which will bring slightly cooler temperatures over the weekend. Air quality should improve over the weekend until a stalled-out weather system finally passes over the state late on Monday. Warm temperatures and more widespread wildfire smoke should return to the region by Tuesday.
Smoke continues to impact parts of western and central Montana this afternoon. Cumulative particulate concentrations are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula, Hamilton, and Bozeman, while hourly concentrations have been mostly GOOD throughout the day. Similarly, cumulative concentrations are MODERATE in the Flathead valley, Frenchtown, Seeley Lake, Butte, Great Falls, and Helena, but hourly concentrations have also been mostly GOOD. Air quality is GOOD at all other reporting locations. Skies are partly cloudy, especially across southwestern and northeastern Montana, with very warm temperatures.
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 3:15 this afternoon. 

This is the visible satellite image from 3:15 this afternoon.


 
Some wildfire smoke is reducing visibility near Livingston this afternoon.

Some wildfire smoke is reducing visibility near Livingston 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  Bozeman B24
Hamilton B24
Missoula B24
  Moderate

 Frenchtown B24, B8
Flathead Valley B24
Helena B24
Butte B24
Seeley Lake B24, B8
Great Falls B24
 

  Good

 Libby
West Yellowstone
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.