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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 20, 2012 8:20 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Smoke was mostly GOOD across the state yesterday afternoon, but by the evening time, atmospheric winds from the southwest pushed smoke from Idaho back into southwestern Montana. There was decent cloud-cover yesterday from a weak weather disturbance, so those clouds actually covered most of the smoke that we should be able to see and track on satellite images. Therefore, we have to track the smoke from the ground. Webcam images this morning show that smoke is UNHEALTHY to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS across much of southwest, including all of Beaverhead and Madison Counties, into Bozeman and to the Absaroka Mountains, and into the Bitterroot Valley. As you move to the northeast, smoke becomes MODERATE near Butte and Helena. Still traveling northeast, smoke concentrations are GOOD in Great Falls and beyond, but smoke is definitely visible high in the air. In fact, even regions that are reporting GOOD (like far northwestern and eastern Montana), you can see the smoke on the horizon, and maybe even saw a hint of red in the sunrise.

There are no Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches for today, but conditions will continue to be hot and dry with very low chances for isolated thunderstorms. It is certainly not ideal weather for containing fires today. Another smoke update will come this afternoon with the latest smoke conditions, fire activity, and a forecast for the rest of the week.
Heavy smoke is impacting parts of southwestern Montana this morning. See "Today's Report and Forecast" (left) for more details. Another smoke update will come this afternoon as conditions evolve.
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 7:45 this morning. Clouds across western and southern Montana this morning are still making ground-level smoke a little difficult to see. Keep scrolling down the page to see webcam images from smoky areas, and to the bottom of the page for smoke concentrations in thirteen Montana locations. 

This is the visible satellite image from 7:45 this morning. Clouds across western and southern Montana this morning are still making ground-level smoke a little difficult to see. Keep scrolling down the page to see webcam images from smoky areas, and to the bottom of the page for smoke concentrations in thirteen Montana locations.


 
This webcam is in Hamilton, and for another morning this month, the mountains behind town are difficult to see because of heavy smoke.

This webcam is in Hamilton, and for another morning this month, the mountains behind town are difficult to see because of heavy smoke.


This webcam is in Livingston and looks southeast towards the Absaroka Mountains, which because of heavy smoke, are not visible at all.

This webcam is in Livingston and looks southeast towards the Absaroka Mountains, which because of heavy smoke, are not visible at all.

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 looks west from Great Falls. As I stated earlier, although Great Falls is reporting GOOD air quality, smoke is still very visible high in the sky along the horizon.

This webcam looks west from Great Falls. As I stated earlier, although Great Falls is reporting GOOD air quality, smoke is still very visible high in the sky along the horizon.

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
Bozeman B24, B8
West Yellowstone B24
  Moderate

 Seeley Lake B24
Frenchtown B24, B8
Butte B24, B8
 

  Good

 Sidney
Billings
Great Falls
Libby
Flathead Valley
Helena
Missoula
 

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.