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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, July 16, 2012 3:00 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has finally improved to GOOD in just about every corner of the state. Firefighters in western Montana have had a lot of help in recent days with rain and high humidity. In southeast Montana, the weather hasn’t been quite as cooperative, but it also hasn’t been favorable for extreme fire behavior. Some small fires have been started by lightning or humans, but they have been contained and put out quickly. The weather has been much more active as well, meaning that the atmosphere is staying very well-mixed and not stagnant. Any smoke that we were seeing—whether from Montana, Oregon, or Canada—is not settling near the ground or staying there for several days.

More patchy rain and higher humidities will stick around for one more day on Tuesday. Air quality will continue to be GOOD in most locations. By Wednesday, a ridge of high pressure will start to build back into the area and temperatures will get very warm again. Most of the state should completely dry out—and stay that way for most of the week—except for chances for afternoon pop-up thunderstorms across the southwest. Fire weather will become more critical in the latter half of the week, and more stagnant conditions will hurt air quality with the presence of smoke.
Air quality at all reporting locations is GOOD. Fires have become less active with the presence of rain and higher humidity, and the weather has been more active to mitigate smoke impacts. Tuesday’s weather will be similar to today, with another chance of afternoon showers and storms. By Wednesday, temperatures will rise as more stagnant conditions push into the region. Drier air will become more concerning for fires.
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 the visible satellite image from 2:15 this afternoon. Clouds are heaviest in southwestern Montana in association with some rain and storms.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:15 this afternoon. Clouds are heaviest in southwestern Montana in association with some rain and storms.


 





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 thin 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

 All reporting locations 

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.