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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 17, 2012 1:45 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is already starting to decrease across southwestern Montana and the Bitterroot Valley, as expected. The Bitterroot Valley is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to the south, and MODERATE to the north near Missoula. Other parts of Beaverhead and Madison Counties are also MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Smoke from fires in eastern Idaho started to blow west yesterday evening. This trend is expected to continue for the next few days, and smoke impacts will depend on fire activity. There is a general haze over most of western Montana, but most places are not seeing poor air quality. There is, however, a rather large fire in the Mission Valley, which is causing MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS smoke conditions there. As we continue to string these hot, dry days together, this fire and others in the state should intensify and start producing more smoke. By Sunday, we will start to see those afternoon, isolated thunderstorms develop, which will increase the risk for new fires. The afternoons will also become breezier. A weak weather system looks to come through mid-next week, but at this point, it looks like it will provide little relief to the fire danger and smoke impacts. Smoke from Idaho started blowing into southwestern Montana and the Bitterroot Valley yesterday evening, creating MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS smoke impacts. Parts of the Mission Valley are also seeing similar conditions with a rather large fire in the middle of the valley. The next few days will be hot and dry again, with chances for thunderstorms increasing by Sunday. A weather system will move in sometime in the middle of next week, but at this point it does not look promising to provide significant relief.
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 1:15 this afternoon. Skies are clear across Montana, and areas of smoke are starting to become more defined in central and eastern Idaho. 

This is the visible satellite image from 1:15 this afternoon. Skies are clear across Montana, and areas of smoke are starting to become more defined in central and eastern Idaho.


 





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  Hamilton B24, B8
  Moderate

 West Yellowstone B24 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Missoula
Seeley Lake
Helena
Butte
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.