Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates | Today's Air

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, August 25, 2012 5:40 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
As expected, atmospheric winds slowly changed direction overnight and throughout the day today. The wind is now mostly coming from the west, which means that smoke in Idaho is blowing east over southwestern Montana again. Air quality is UNHEALTHY in the Bitterroot Valley and parts of Beaverhead and Madison Counties. Air quality is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS around the Yellowstone area. Smoke impacts are MODERATE and getting worse elsewhere, like Bozeman and Butte. These are just impacts from Idaho fires. There is a large fire in eastern Montana, east of Roundup, which is creating UNHEALTHY conditions downwind. The fire was reported on Friday afternoon, and smoke spread out over southeastern Montana on Friday night, so air quality is generally MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Smoke and fires are everywhere, and conditions will be similar tomorrow. Temperatures will be warmer and the air will still be very dry. Heavy amounts of smoke should be produced tomorrow, which will add to the smoke we see today. Atmospheric winds will continue to change direction and will come more from the southwest. Therefore, smoke will start to fill in farther north, like Helena and Great Falls. We will stay hot, dry, and smoky through Tuesday. To (potentially) make matters worse, there is a chance for thunderstorms Sunday night through Monday night. Lightning can easily spark new wildfires. A strong cold front should come on Wednesday, bringing very strong winds and cooler air. This will be our next real chance to clear out this smoke. Air quality is UNHEALTHY in the Bitterroot Valley and parts of Beaverhead and Madison Counties. Air quality is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS around the Yellowstone area. Smoke impacts are MODERATE and getting worse elsewhere, like Bozeman and Butte. These are just impacts from Idaho fires. There is a large fire in eastern Montana, east of Roundup, which is creating UNHEALTHY conditions downwind.
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 4:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are so large that you can point out every major fire in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. 

This is the visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are so large that you can point out every major fire in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.


 





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 respresents 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  Hamilton
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  West Yellowstone
  Moderate

 Billings
Butte B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake
Frenchtown
Missoula
Helena
Bozeman
Great Falls
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.