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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Sunday, July 8, 2012 5:00 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
For the past few days, the weather has been far less erratic and more cooperative for firefighters. The number of wildfires today is less than just a few days ago. Also, most those fires that are still burning today are over 50% contained. A decreasing number of fires, more containment, and lighter winds have resulted in improved air quality across much of the state. All reporting locations are GOOD this afternoon. Frenchtown’s 24-hour average particulate concentration has teetered between GOOD and MODERATE all day, but is GOOD as of the latest observation. Winds in the plains continue to blow from the southeast near the surface, so towns to the northwest of active fires should still see UNHEALTHY smoke conditions today.

The ridge of high pressure is sitting over the western US, pulling some high heat our way and providing relief to the eastern US that saw record-breaking heat last week. Dispersion under such a ridge is fairly poor and stagnant with weak transport winds; the smoke doesn’t really have anything to push it away. This is the kind of weather we can expect all week. Moisture will continue to come up from the south, though relative humidities should now be closer to 10-15% instead of 15-20%. Winds will continue to be fairly light and every afternoon will bring a chance for thunderstorms, especially over the terrain of southern Montana. A weather disturbance and weak cold front will pass through on Tuesday, providing little relief from the heat. Winds at this time will pick up and the chance for thunderstorms will increase. This is the only “real” and noteworthy weather change for the week.
A strong ridge of high pressure is sitting over the western US, bringing very warm temperatures our way. Winds continue to be fairly light and thunderstorms are popping up over the terrain. The weather will be pretty persistent all week, except for an increased chance for thunderstorms and stronger winds on Tuesday in association with a weak cold front. As existing fires become more contained and put out, air quality will improve locally. Thanks to excellent firefighting efforts, we are seeing GOOD air quality across all reporting sites.
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




This is a visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon. For another day, the southeastern fires are not so big that smoke is visible from these satellites, but we do see the large, billowing clouds from pop-up thunderstorms. 

This is a visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon. For another day, the southeastern fires are not so big that smoke is visible from these satellites, but we do see the large, billowing clouds from pop-up thunderstorms.


 





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

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