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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, July 9, 2012 2:00 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality at all monitoring locations continues to be GOOD today, although we are seeing some very slight smoke impacts. Webcams and smoke analysis satellites show thin-to-moderate smoke from fires in eastern Oregon, Idaho, and southwestern Montana. The same images show thin areas of haze across eastern Montana from fires in southeastern Montana, Alaska, and Canada. Although many of the southeastern Montana fires are nearing 100% containment, they are still burning and smoldering, so air quality in neighboring communities is still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Ravalli County through tonight, in anticipation of wind, low humidity, and dry thunderstorms. Fire Weather Watches are in effect for many southern counties until Tuesday evening. These Watches may become Red Flag Warnings as the anticipated weather on Tuesday draws nearer. In the mean time, today will be another hot day. The ridge of high pressure is dominating our weather. Relative humidities will drop near or below 20% this afternoon, especially to the southwest and east. Monsoonal moisture is still in place, giving us those afternoon clouds, chances for pop-up thunderstorms, and lightning fears in this dry spell. Aside from a few afternoon gusts, winds are still generally light and will continue to be tonight. Wind direction is variable to southeasterly. Today’s weather conditions and forecast will be the same Wednesday through much of the week. However tomorrow, we are expecting a little bit of weather to prompt the fire concerns. A weak weather system will pass in the afternoon and evening. Under the dominating, hot dome of high pressure, temperatures will not cool down much by Wednesday. However, a weak cold front is still expected tomorrow, bringing gusty winds and a chance for more widespread thunderstorms. The sudden change in wind speed and direction can cause erratic fire behavior, and lightning can spark new fires.

Tonight, air quality should remain GOOD at reporting sites. Some 24-hour average particulate concentrations may reach MODERATE, but it should not last long with an anticipated cold front. Strong winds may fan fires in the southeast, causing more smoke to be produced. Towns east and northeast of fires will then see UNHEALTHY to VERY UNHEALTHY smoke impacts.
Despite very slight smoke impacts, air quality is GOOD today at all reporting sites. Mostly thin to some moderate smoke is seen across the state thanks to fires in Canada, Idaho, and right in our own back yard. A Red Flag Warning is currently in effect through tonight, and Fire Weather Watches have been issued for tomorrow, though they may be upgraded to Red Flag Warnings. These fire weather highlights are in anticipation of a weak weather system, with gusty winds along a cold front and a chance for widespread thunderstorms. The rest of the week will remain hot and dry.
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 1:00 this afternoon. Skies are mostly clear under the strong, stable ridge of high pressure, but some clouds are starting to pop up along mountainous terrain.  

Visible satellite image from 1:00 this afternoon. Skies are mostly clear under the strong, stable ridge of high pressure, but some clouds are starting to pop up along mountainous terrain.


 
This webcam looks west from the top of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman. You can see reduced visibility and haze from smoke primarily from Idaho and Oregon fires coming into southwestern Montana.

This webcam looks west from the top of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman. You can see reduced visibility and haze from smoke primarily from Idaho and Oregon fires coming into southwestern Montana.


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 




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
Butte
Bozeman
Great Falls
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.