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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 10:20 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Late yesterday afternoon, fires in Idaho and Oregon produced heavy amounts of smoke, which moved to western Montana overnight. This morning, particulate monitors are showing elevated smoke impacts, and all webcams across western Montana show some very smoky skies. Fortunately for those of us at low elevations in the valley bottoms, smoke impacts are not too bad—mostly MODERATE and GOOD. However, if you were to hike off the valley bottoms or mountain climb this morning, you would likely be dealing with MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS smoke impacts. For now, a lot of the smoke is suspended higher in the air to the west. In eastern Montana, smoke conditions are mostly GOOD with some pockets of MODERATE. Monitors and webcams show less smoke than in western Montana, and less smoke than we have seen from the southeastern fires. Near active and smoldering fires this morning, smoke conditions are still at least UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

There will be an update this afternoon with afternoon weather conditions, updated smoke impacts, and a forecast.
There is a lot of smoke in the air over western Montana this morning. Fortunately for most, the heaviest and most unhealthy smoke is high in the air. Ground-level smoke monitors show mostly GOOD to MODERATE smoke impacts, but higher up, the air may be UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

There will be an update this afternoon with afternoon weather conditions, updated smoke impacts, and a forecast.
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 8:30 this morning. The light gray, wispy feature across the western part of the state is wildfire smoke.  

This is a visible satellite image from 8:30 this morning. The light gray, wispy feature across the western part of the state is wildfire smoke.


 
This webcam in Missoula shows just how smoky the air is, as the mountain in this image is hardly visible. The monitor in Missoula currently shows GOOD air quality.

This webcam in Missoula shows just how smoky the air is, as the mountain in this image is hardly visible. The monitor in Missoula currently shows <a href="http://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates/SmokeCategories.mcpx">GOOD</a> air quality.





 

This webcam is at the Gates of the Mountains and looks south over the Helena Valley. Again, the air is so smoky that it is difficult to see the Elkhorn and Boulder Mountains. The monitor in Helena currently shows GOOD air quality.

This webcam is at the Gates of the Mountains and looks south over the Helena Valley. Again, the air is so smoky that it is difficult to see the Elkhorn and Boulder Mountains. The monitor in Helena currently shows <a href="http://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates/SmokeCategories.mcpx">GOOD</a> air quality.

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

 West Yellowstone B24
Hamilton B24, B8
Butte B24
Frenchtown B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Missoula
Seeley Lake
Helena
Bozeman
Great Falls
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.