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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, July 7, 2012 4:30 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
The large ridge of high pressure that has brought such extreme heat to the eastern US is moving west and we will start tapping into those warm temperatures. Near the surface, winds are blowing mostly from the east and southeast. Unfortunately, the only places we are seeing gusty winds are in the southeast, which could be fanning the fires. The color satellite image below shows smoke from the Southeast Complex blowing east. Winds aloft--thousands of feet into the atmosphere-- are blowing from the west/southwest. Areas of smoke have been seen passing over and near Montana from fires in Siberia and Alaska. Locally, we also have smoke from fires in southern Montana and parts of Wyoming. Air quality is GOOD
at all reporting locations, though we can see elevated particulate concentrations almost everywhere thanks to smoke coming in from many directions. However, particulate concentrations should be UNHEALTHY immediately downwind of active fires.

The basis for the forecast won't change much in the next few days. This ridge of high pressure will sit over the Rockies, causing temperatures to reach almost 100 degrees statewide. Upper-level moisture will continue to come up from the south, and as we are seeing today, we have a chance of pop-up thunderstorms every afternoon. The extra moisture will keep relative humidities away from those single digits. Winds will also stay mostly easterly, with only afternoon gusts. As smoke comes in from near and far, air quality will continue to slowly get worse. 24-hour average particulate concentrations will become GOOD
at almost all observing locations. Under this ridge of high pressure, dispersion is very poor and the air is stagnant. We will have to wait several more days before any relief.
Thunderstorms are starting to develop across southern Montana. Smoke is coming in from fires in Siberia, Alaska, and locally in southeastern Montana and parts of Wyoming. All reporting sites are GOOD but locations near active fires could be UNHEALTHY. The short-term forecast will be persistent as the mercury rises.
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 3:30 this afternoon shows clouds and thunderstorms developing across much of south and western Montana. 

Visible satellite image from 3:30 this afternoon shows clouds and thunderstorms developing across much of south and western Montana.


 
This is a high-resolution satellite image that shows the eastern half of Montana. Circled in red is the Southeast Complex, showing the smoke blowing east today.

This is a high-resolution satellite image that shows the eastern half of Montana. Circled in red is the Southeast Complex, showing the smoke blowing east today.


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 moderate 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 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

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

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.