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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, August 9, 2012 8:10 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Heavy smoke was produced last night as a weak cold front passed across the state. Heavy lightning was reported with little rain yesterday, which sparked many new fires from west to east. Western and especially southwestern Montana has been hit hardest with smoke this morning, with many locations reporting UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Most of these readings are for long-term exposures (either 24 hours or 8 hours), but monitors show that if you were to stand outside for a full hour or less, air quality would be generally GOOD to MODERATE. Monitoring locations and their most recent particulate concentrations and smoke impacts are listed at the bottom of the page. For regions outside of these monitors, use of the visibility guidelines will be the tool needed to determine current air quality conditions.

There will be another update this afternoon with the most current smoke conditions and a forecast. As for the rest of this morning, expect smoke to linger through late in the morning. By about 11:00 or noon, there should be enough sunlight and warm air to lift some of the smoke away from the ground, but a smoky haze will still be seen on the horizons. This afternoon’s update will also include current fire activity, the heaviest smoke producers, any new and significant fires, and a smoke analysis from satellite data, which is not yet available early in the morning.
Heavy amounts of smoke were produced late yesterday evening and throughout the night. Fire conditions were ripe yesterday, and thunderstorms came across the state with heavy lightning and little rain. See "Today's Report and Forecast" for this morning's smoke update. Another update will come this afternoon with the most current smoke information, new fire information, 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




The Sleeping Giant mountain feature is not at all visible in this webcam image in Helena. The Sleeping Giant is only about 13 miles away. 

The Sleeping Giant mountain feature is not at all visible in this webcam image in Helena. The Sleeping Giant is only about 13 miles away.


 
This webcam is located on the First Interstate Tower in Billings, and it managed to find a fire burning very close to Billings.

This webcam is located on the First Interstate Tower in Billings, and it managed to find a fire burning very close to Billings.


This webcam in Hamilton shows extremely smoky conditions. The mountains in the background are usually very crisp and clear, but this morning, even their silhouette is tough to decipher.

This webcam in Hamilton shows extremely smoky conditions. The mountains in the background are usually very crisp and clear, but this morning, even their silhouette is tough to decipher.

Red indicates hot spot detected. Grey represents smoke seen by satellite. Fire size is exaggerated for visibility at this scale. To identify individual fires on graphic above go here: https://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/lg_fire2.php 

This webcam is at the Vigilante Field in Dillon, and it is just another example of how much smoke you can see this morning in southwestern Montana.

This webcam is at the Vigilante Field in Dillon, and it is just another example of how much smoke you can see this morning in southwestern Montana.

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  Hamilton B24, B8
Butte B24
Frenchtown B24
  Moderate

 Missoula B24, B8
Bozeman B24, B8
Great Falls B24, B8
West Yellowstone B24
Helena B24
Seeley Lake B24
 

  Good

 Billings
Sidney
Libby
Flathead Valley
 

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.