Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates | Today's Air

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, July 5, 2012 1:00 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality stayed GOOD at all reporting sites overnight. Today, moisture and clouds are coming up from the south. Relative humidities will be higher today, and winds will be fairly light and from an east direction. Temperatures will start warming up, but this is not an ideal fire weather day for “explosive” burning. All of this moisture, however, may produce a few thunderstorms with lightning, particularly across the very dry southern half of Montana. Not all of the thunderstorms that develop will be dry thunderstorms, so very isolated rain is also a possibility.

Clouds on satellite images will make it difficult to impossible to see and track smoke plumes across the state today. Smoke impacts will be determined by fire behavior (how much smoke it is producing) and wind direction. Today across southeast Montana, where most of the fires are burning, winds will be mostly from the southeast, blowing to the northwest. This wind pattern will continue through the weekend. Locations that will be immediately affected by smoke, especially in the evenings, will be places like Billings, Hardin, and Roundup. Places in northeastern Montana, like Sidney, could also see higher particulate concentrations with an east/southeast wind. As the near-surface smoke starts to drift east today and throughout the weekend, haze and slight smoke impacts may reach as far as Great Falls.
Air quality is GOOD at all reporting sites today, despite new and existing fires still burning, primarily across the southeastern counties. The weather today should help firefighting efforts, as winds will be fairly light and from the east and southeast, and relative humidities will be higher. This is thanks to a surge of moisture coming from the south, which has the potential to produce some thunderstorms and lighting, as well as isolated showers.
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




Visible satellite image from 11:30 this morning shows the huge swath of moisture and clouds coming from the south.  

Visible satellite image from 11:30 this morning shows the huge swath of moisture and clouds coming from the south.


 





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).

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 

This is the Hysham Hills webcam on I-94. On a cloudy and potentially rainy day like today, discerning air quality based on visibility may be difficult. Active weather like this (clouds, rain, storms…) actually helps to remove smoke and particulate matter away from the ground. On a day like this, if you cannot smell smoke, you are probably GOOD.

This is the Hysham Hills webcam on I-94. On a cloudy and potentially rainy day like today, discerning air quality based on visibility may be difficult. Active weather like this (clouds, rain, storms…) actually helps to remove smoke and particulate matter away from the ground. On a day like this, if you cannot smell smoke, you are probably <a href="http://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates/SmokeCategories.mcpx">GOOD</a>.

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  
  Moderate

  

  Good

 All reporting sites 

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.