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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 1:20 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Smoke from fires in Oregon and Idaho continue to pour over Montana. We still have our own fires burning—some in the southeast, a new one near Livingston, and a growing fire in the southern tip of Ravalli County. Air quality is being impacted over a broad area by out-of-state fires. Almost every 1-hour average particulate concentration at reporting locations has been GOOD, but 24-hour average concentrations are MODERATE at the majority of locations. See the bottom of the page for a list of these cities. Elsewhere, air quality should be UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS near fires of southeastern Montana, Livingston, and Darby.

Upper-level wind patterns are driving smoke our way from the southwest, and these wind patterns will generally stay the same for the next couple of days. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for much of eastern Montana through tonight for winds, low relative humidity, and continued threat for dry thunderstorms. Thursday and Friday will be two hot days under the ridge of high pressure. Moisture will continue to come up from the south, perpetuating the chance for thunderstorms. By late Friday night, the weather pattern will start to change as the hot ridge of high pressure that has dominated our weather for the past week finally starts to move back east. Temperatures over the weekend will be cooler and there is a higher chance for widespread rain showers across the state over the weekend. This may dampen some outdoor weekend plans, but the rain is desperately needed.
Fires in Oregon and Idaho are creating very smoky conditions across Montana. Air quality is being impacted, as long-term exposures to smoke in many cities would be classified as MODERATE. Smoke may continue to build from those fires and others in Montana as this hot ridge of high pressure stays around for the end of the work week. Thankfully, the weekend should bring a nice break to this weather pattern, providing cooler temperatures and higher chances for widespread rain.
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 12:30 this afternoon. Skies are mostly clear except for storms developing around the Idaho/Montana/Wyoming borders. 

This is a visible satellite image from 12:30 this afternoon. Skies are mostly clear except for storms developing around the Idaho/Montana/Wyoming borders.


 
This webcam in Livingston looks towards the Absaroka Mountains. It is extremely hazy and smoky around Livingston today from a fire that started last night northeast of Livingston and from fires in neighboring states.

This webcam in Livingston looks towards the Absaroka Mountains. It is extremely hazy and smoky around Livingston today from a fire that started last night northeast of Livingston and from fires in neighboring states.


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

 Billings B8
Bozeman B8, B24
Hamilton B8, B24
Great Falls B24
West Yellowstone B24
Helena B24
Seeley Lake B24
Frenchtown B24
 

  Good

 Sidney
Butte
Missoula
Flathead Valley
Libby
 

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.