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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, July 6, 2012 10:35 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
The weather yesterday helped firefighting efforts, with no significant growth and increasing containment of many large fires. Overnight, smoke did settle to the ground as predicted. Clouds are still covering the most southeastern counties, but webcams show smoke and haze over many places. Particulate concentrations measured in Billings also show some smoke impacts. 1-hour concentrations have stayed GOOD, but 8- and 24-hour averages are MODERATE. Many other towns away from fires in the southeast should also see MODERATE conditions today, but there are still several towns very close to the fires that will see UNHEALTHY concentrations or higher. Some of these towns include Roundup, Lame Deer, Birney, and Ashland. Wind direction will be somewhat variable through this late this morning, as there are a few atmospheric influences nearby to shift the wind around. However, by this afternoon, the wind direction will become more uniformly from the southeast and then east. Winds will become a little breezy late this afternoon as well, but the moisture influence should keep relative humidities fairly high again. Smoke will continue to blow to the west, increasing the haze over places like Livingston, White Sulphur Springs, Lewistown, and Great Falls.

The huge ridge of high pressure that has brought record-breaking and extreme heat to the eastern half of the United States will move west, sitting over the Rocky Mountains over the weekend and for the first few days of next week. Temperatures here will also become extremely warm. Eastern Montana will catch a small break, for after seeing high 90s and 100+ degree days recently, the warmest temperatures will be in far western Montana, reaching close to 100. Eastern Montana should stay in the lower to mid 90s. Relative humidities will fall to near-critical levels across the south every afternoon. Surface winds will continue to blow to the west. Winds will be light to moderate, with some afternoon gusts. With the moisture still in place, we still have a chance for thunderstorms every day under this weather pattern. It may be over a week before we see significant relief from the heat or a significant change in the weather pattern.
Favorable weather helped firefighters yesterday. Smoke from several fires in southeastern Montana settled to the ground overnight, creating at least some smoke impacts over a very large area. Fires will continue to burn today as winds will become easterly (blowing to the west). Cities and towns to the west and northwest of any of the fires will see smoke impacts today. Those closest to the fires will probably see UNHEALTHY air quality today.
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 10:00 this morning. Skies are mostly clear except for clouds across eastern Montana, associated with a weather system over Minnesota. That batch of clouds should move east today and skies will be mostly clear, except for some possible pop-up thunderstorms that could develop in the afternoon. 

Visible satellite image from 10:00 this morning. Skies are mostly clear except for clouds across eastern Montana, associated with a weather system over Minnesota. That batch of clouds should move east today and skies will be mostly clear, except for some possible pop-up thunderstorms that could develop in the afternoon.


 
This is a map from the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, showing the locations of all large fires around Montana as of yesterday.

This is a map from the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, showing the locations of all large fires around Montana as of yesterday.


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 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 webcam looks at the Absorka Mountains from Livingston. We can see that smoke has already started blowing west from fires in the southeast, reducing visibility here. This will continue for the next few days.

This webcam looks at the Absorka Mountains from Livingston. We can see that smoke has already started blowing west from fires in the southeast, reducing visibility here. This will continue for the next few days.

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

 Billings T(8,24) 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Seeley Lake
Helena
Great Falls
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Sidney
 

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.