Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates | Today's Air

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, July 12, 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 was not as bad yesterday. With less smoke coming into Montana, air quality has improved slightly. While most reporting locations saw MODERATE 24-hour average particulate concentrations yesterday, many of those locations are now back to GOOD. Heavier haze and smoke around the state is patchy. The fire near Livingston from yesterday is mostly contained and visibility is improved. That area is only seeing MODERATE smoke impacts. Almost every fire in southeastern Montana is contained as well, so any smoldering should only create UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS conditions adjacent to burn areas. The fire in the Bitterroot, at the southern tip of Ravalli County is still burning, causing smoke impacts there. Long-term exposures in Hamilton are reporting as MODERATE, but more southern locations like Darby should be UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

It’s another hot day under the ridge of high pressure. Winds across the state are light and variable. Skies started out clear this morning, but some clouds are starting to show up on the satellite images. We have another chance for isolated, pop-up thunderstorms today. Friday’s weather will be much like today, and smoke impacts should be similar. Southern Oregon and Idaho are expecting more critical fire weather, so we should continue to see smoke from those fires. The upper-level wind patterns also support that. By late Friday, the ridge of high pressure that has dominated our weather pattern for the last week or so will finally start to move east. There is a low pressure system currently sitting off the Pacific Northwest coast, and by Saturday it will start to move onshore. Several rounds of disturbances will move across the state through the weekend, giving us the best chance for widespread rain that we have had in a while. Temperatures will also be cooler and air quality will be improved. Fire weather doesn’t look to be a threat for next week, except for the possibility of lightning-producing thunderstorms.
Smoke and air quality have improved slightly in the last 24 hours. Long-term smoke exposure has dropped from MODERATE to GOOD in many locations. Montana’s fires are almost a non-threat for smoke, except for the fire in the southern tip of Ravalli County. This fire is causing some smoke impacts in the Bitterroot Valley, especially in closer towns with complex terrain like Darby. Tomorrow looks to be similar to today, both in the hot weather with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, and with air quality ranging from GOOD to MODERATE state-wide, except for heavier smoke in the Bitterroot.
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 12:45 this afternoon. Clouds are starting to pop up around the mountainous terrain in the Northern Rockies. Some of these clouds may turn into isolated thunderstorms later this afternoon. 

This is a visible satellite image from 12:45 this afternoon. Clouds are starting to pop up around the mountainous terrain in the Northern Rockies. Some of these clouds may turn into isolated thunderstorms later this afternoon.


 
It’s another hazy day in the Helena Valley. This webcam is near the Gates of the Mountains and faces south.

It’s another hazy day in the Helena Valley. This webcam is near the Gates of the Mountains and faces south.


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

 Frenchtown B24
Hamilton B24
 

  Good

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