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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, July 22, 2017 1:58 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
A red flag warning is in effect until 3 a.m. tomorrow morning for portions of eastern Montana due to dry and windy conditions. These conditions have caused the largest fire currently burning in Montana, the Lodgepole Complex, to grow to 125,000 acres. Smoke impacts from that fire as well as fires east of Billings caused air quality to reach UNHEALTHY levels in Broadus this morning, where levels have gradually been improving and are currently MODERATE. Birney was also impacted this morning where air quality was UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS until midday, when air quality improved to MODERATE. Air quality in Malta is currently MODERATE. After a mostly clear morning, we are seeing more impacts in Billings, where air quality is currently UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

Most of western Montana has had MODERATE air quality impacts this morning, where Frenchtown, Missoula, Hamilton, Butte, Helena, Bozeman, Dillon and West Yellowstone are reporting MODERATE levels. Locations in northwestern Montana have not been impacted from fires and over the past 24 hours, where monitoring stations in Libby, Thompson Falls and Flathead Valley are currently reporting GOOD air quality.

Current fire activity west of the Continental Divide includes:

-The Sunrise fire, near Superior, MT grew to 1,000 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Burdette fire, near Tarkio, MT is 140 acres and is 30% contained.

-The Goat Creek fire near Clinton, MT is 443 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Lolo Peak fire near Lolo, MT is 249 acres today.

-The Little Hogback fire near Stevensville, grew to 1,719 acres and 5% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Sliderock fire, southeast of Missoula, maintained at 204 acres and is 5% contained.

-The Meyers fire, southwest of Philipsburg, grew to 689 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Whetstone Ridge fire near Philipsburg, MT is currently 998 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Park Creek fire near Lincoln, MT is currently 2,725 acres and 5% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Arrastra Creek fire also near Lincoln, MT is currently 2,099 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-Up toward Seeley lake, the Monahan fire is reporting 410 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

-The Chinn fire near White Sulphur Springs is currently 1,000 acres and 0% contained with active fire behavior.

Fires in Eastern Montana include:

-The Sage Hills fire east of Billings is 1,092 acres and 75% contained.

-The Coyote fire southwest of Ashland is 1,500 acres and 0% contained with extreme fire behavior.

-The Crying fire near Benzien, MT is 5,983 acres and 20% contained with extreme fire behavior.

-The Lodgepole Complex near Jordan, MT is 125,000 acres and 0% contained with extreme fire behavior.


For most of Montana, today and into tomorrow, the ridge of high pressure will bring lighter winds than what we had the past few days, but will likely create more widespread air quality impacts as smoke from numerous fires in Montana and to our south and west disperses under the stable air. Most locations will see hazy skies and MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS air quality, with more significant impacts possible downwind of active fires. Expect windy conditions in portions of eastern Montana today which will likely cause the large fires in the region to grow.

In western Montana, air quality remains MODERATE except for areas in the northwest where air quality is currently GOOD.

In eastern Montana, we were seeing more smoke impacts earlier today with Broadus reporting UNHEALTHY levels this morning, where levels have gradually been improving and are currently MODERATE. Birney was also impacted this morning where air quality was UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS until midday, when air quality improved to MODERATE. Air quality in Malta is currently MODERATE. After a mostly clear morning, we are seeing more impacts in Billings, where air quality is currently UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

A red flag warning is in effect for portions of eastern Montana until early Sunday morning where dry conditions and gusty northwest winds will cause fires there to grow. The ridge of high pressure to the west will bring more calm, stable conditions than what we’ve seen in the past 48 hours; however it is likely to cause widespread hazy to build up under the ridge. Air quality into tomorrow is likely to stay MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. A return to more unsettled conditions and chances of precipitation return to the region early next week.
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.

Air Quality Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (406) 444-3490
Email: DEQMTSmoke@mt.gov




Current large fire activity is shown below: 

Current large fire activity is shown below:
Source: USFS

 
Hazy skies in Billings today:

Hazy skies in Billings today:
Source: KTVQ

Yesterday’s satellite imagery shows the large smoke plume coming off the Lodgepole Complex:

Yesterday’s satellite imagery shows the large smoke plume coming off the Lodgepole Complex:

Source: NASA 

In another image from yesterday’s satellite, plumes coming off fires in western Montana as well as the large Lodgepole Complex can be seen:

In another image from yesterday’s satellite, plumes coming off fires in western Montana as well as the large Lodgepole Complex can be seen:
Source: COD

Real time particulate information is currently available in most of the larger urban areas from MTDEQ's Today's Air website.

Today's particulate report below compares particulate levels received from DEQ's
reporting stations with MTDEQ’s Health Effect Categories.

Locations and severity of PM 2.5 particulate values over the past 24 hours from the time above.
Health Effects Categories City
  Hazardous  
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Billings
  Moderate

 Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Helena
Butte
Dillon
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Malta
Birney
Broadus
 

  Good

 All other locations 

B1(x) One-hour BAM value (number of values)
B8(x) Eight-hour average BAM
B24 24 hour  average BAM value
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.