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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 2:30 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
This morning we were seeing MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS smoke impacts across much of Montana. Throughout the morning and into this afternoon, the fires that created those smoke impacts continue to burn, but the heating of the sun has lifted much of the smoke away from the ground. Although we can still see smoke plumes on satellite images and there is still a haze in the air, we are not seeing health-related smoke impacts because most of the smoke is away from the ground for the time being. Temperatures are getting very hot again this afternoon and winds are gusty, mostly from the west, across eastern Montana.

The ridge of high pressure is starting to break down and we are looking ahead for a nice, but brief weather change. For the rest of tonight, there is still a slight chance for pop-up thunderstorms, but much of the moisture that we have seen lately has been shunted to our south, so thunderstorms will be rare tonight. Tomorrow will also be mostly dry, and as the ridge continues to break down, high temperatures will be slightly lower tomorrow. Winds will again be a little breezy from the west in the afternoon. Thursday will be a bit cooler still, and with a mostly dry morning. A low pressure system will move inland from the British Columbia coast and into the Northern Rockies. Winds will pick up in the afternoon ahead of a cold front that will pass late Thursday into Friday. On Friday, afternoon high temperatures will be slightly below normal and there will be a chance for rain showers. This break in the heat will be short-lived as the ridge of high pressure builds back in over the weekend, warming temperatures back up.
This morning we were seeing MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS smoke impacts across much of Montana. To see this morning’s update, please click the “Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates” link above and find “July 31, 2012 8:40 AM.” As of this afternoon, smoke impacts have eased a bit, but many places from Augusta to Sidney are still at MODERATE for long-term smoke exposures. West Yellowstone is also still high at UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, although 1-hour exposures are GOOD.
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 2:00 this afternoon. Again we see smoke coming from the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses, as well as smoke in central Idaho. We can also see that most of the moisture is stuck to our south in Wyoming, so we will not see as many thunderstorms this evening. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:00 this afternoon. Again we see smoke coming from the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses, as well as smoke in central Idaho. We can also see that most of the moisture is stuck to our south in Wyoming, so we will not see as many thunderstorms this evening.


 





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  West Yellowstone B24
  Moderate

 Great Falls B24
Sidney B24, B8
Frenchtown B24
Flathead Valley B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Missoula
Hamilton
Helena
Seeley Lake
Butte
Bozeman
Billings
 

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.