Wildfire Smoke Update
| Locations and Smoke Conditions
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 6:00 PM
This is a visible satellite image from 5:00 this evening. High smoke is very dense from fires in Wyoming, adding to smoke from Montana fires in southeastern counties. Smoke from the Pony Complex is hard to see on this image. The streak of smoke across northern Idaho and northwestern Montana is actually believed to be from fires in eastern Russia, carried here by the jet stream!
Today's Report and Forecast
The wind from the cold front and low pressure system fanned the fires across the state yesterday, blowing a lot of smoke east over the Dakotas. Overnight the fires died down as usual, so behind the cold front today, many places were seeing much clearer skies and higher visibility through the afternoon. Relative humidities dropped and winds this afternoon picked up, fanning fires again. Fires in southeastern Montana and the Pony Complex between Butte and Bozeman produced large amounts of smoke again this afternoon. Most of the smoke is blowing high in the sky, keeping air quality GOOD far downwind. With strong upper-level winds, smoke should stay off the ground and just cause a dirty haze. Tonight, when temperatures cool, smoke will start to fall back towards the ground. Particulate concentrations in southeastern Montana should be MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Similar conditions will be seen near the Pony Complex, but should not greatly affect Bozeman.
We start a warming trend tomorrow under a strong ridge of high pressure. Moisture will start to stream into southern Montana and for the next few days, bringing chances for afternoon thunderstorms, especially in the southwest. The moisture in the airmass will help to keep relative humidities higher than we saw today. Winds will also stay fairly light with an easterly component near the surface. Aside from the chance of thunderstorms, fire weather will not be a terribly huge concern for the next few days.
Low relative humidities and winds have fanned existing fires in southwest and southeastern Montana today. Large amounts of smoke are being produced again, but smoke is generally rising over 20,000 feet to minimize air quality impacts this afternoon. Tonight, smoke should start to fall to the ground, bringing MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS levels to parts of southeastern Montana, and also just east of the Pony Complex.
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
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 light smoke, yellow is moderately dense smoke, and pink 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
Real time particulate information is currently available in most of the larger urban
areas from MTDEQ's Today's
Today's particulate report below compares particulate levels received from DEQ's
reporting stations with MTDEQ’s
Health Effect Categories.
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
to evaluate possible health risks and make informed