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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:35 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Heavy smoke was produced again yesterday in eastern Idaho and parts of western Montana and the air quality this morning is poor in many places. Smoke filled the Bitterroot Valley late yesterday evening and smoke conditions are UNHEALTHY there. Smoke is also UNHEALTHY across much of southwestern Montana, including most of Beaverhead and Madison Counties, all the way to West Yellowstone and into the park. This heavy smoke is spreading into other parts of southwestern Montana, where Butte is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and farther out still, Bozeman and Missoula are MODERATE with some locations UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Still farther to the north and east, other cities like Helena, Seeley Lake, and Great Falls are MODERATE, but the smoke is heavy in the air and much thicker in the very rural mountains and wildernesses in the area. There are several small fires to the north and west of Helena, along with the Elbow Pass Fire Complex in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat. Air quality seems to be GOOD in the northwest and across most of eastern Montana this morning. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for most of the state effective through tonight for low relative humidity and gusty winds. We are expecting a strong cold front late this evening and overnight to help clear out the smoke, as well as reduce fire danger at least for the next day or two. A full forecast will come this afternoon, along with another smoke update. Heavy smoke was produced in eastern Idaho yesterday which is greatly affecting southwestern Montana and the Bitterroot Valley. Most of these locations are seeing smoke at UNHEALTHY levels. The smoke conditions drop off as you go north and east from this region, with Butte seeing smoke that is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman seeing MODERATE smoke. Northwestern and eastern Montana are mostly 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 5:30 yesterday evening. Outlined in red are the smoke plumes from Idaho. Overnight, smoke from the Mustang Fire, just south of Ravalli County, spread across southwestern Montana and over to West Yellowstone and beyond. Also, smoke from fires just west of the Bitterroot Valley blew smoke directly east and into the whole north-south length of the Bitterroot Valley. 

This is the visible satellite image from 5:30 yesterday evening. Outlined in red are the smoke plumes from Idaho. Overnight, smoke from the Mustang Fire, just south of Ravalli County, spread across southwestern Montana and over to West Yellowstone and beyond. Also, smoke from fires just west of the Bitterroot Valley blew smoke directly east and into the whole north-south length of the Bitterroot Valley.


 
This webcam is in Hamilton and it shows the heavy smoke settled into the Bitterroot Valley this morning.

This webcam is in Hamilton and it shows the heavy smoke settled into the Bitterroot Valley this morning.


This webcam faces Bozeman from 9 miles to the north in the Bridger Mountains. The smoke is so heavy this morning that the mountains that are typically seen in this webcam are no longer visible.

This webcam faces Bozeman from 9 miles to the north in the Bridger Mountains. The smoke is so heavy this morning that the mountains that are typically seen in this webcam are no longer visible.

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 Big Hole Pass in far southwestern Montana, where the smoke is the heaviest.

This webcam is at the Big Hole Pass in far southwestern Montana, where the smoke is the heaviest.

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  Hamilton B24
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  West Yellowstone B8, B24
Butte B24
  Moderate

 Missoula B24
Frenchtown B24
Bozeman B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake
Helena
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.