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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, August 27, 2012 4:00 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is still poor in many areas today. Long-term particulate concentrations are still UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, Missoula, Frenchtown, and Great Falls, although for the last few hours, particulate hourly particulate concentrations have been MODERATE and GOOD. This means that if you were to go outside right now in these locations, the air should be GOOD without creating adverse health effects. However, if you were outdoors for the last 24 hours in these areas, the cumulative effect of the smoke would potentially be enough to aggravate the breathing of even healthy and folks who are not usually sensitive to smoke. Elsewhere, air quality is also getting worse in the Flathead Valley. All hourly concentrations have been GOOD, but long-term concentrations have been MODERATE. In the far northwest, to the southwest, and out east, air quality is GOOD just about everywhere, except for some locations that are very near to active fires.

Thunderstorms and smoke will continue to be a concern tonight. Air quality should start to improve some in these “unhealthy” areas. Tomorrow, some very hot and dry air will come to Montana. These conditions may increase fire activity, as some afternoon wind gusts blow through. Atmospheric winds will continue to blow from the southwest, so smoke from Idaho and other western states will again take aim over Montana. A weather system will be ready to approach western Montana by Wednesday morning. Winds will be very strong almost all day on Wednesday, and we are expecting a dry cold front to pass across the state throughout the afternoon and into the night. This cold front will bring even stronger winds and a wind shift. The erratic wind behavior and continued dry air will be dangerous fire weather. The air quality should slowly improve on Wednesday, from the northwest to the southeast, as cooler and cleaner air comes in behind the front. Temperatures should stay near-seasonal after Wednesday. The degree and time of relief will be relatively short, as the atmosphere gears up for another weather system at the end of the weekend, which would again put Montana downwind of Idaho’s fires.
Air quality is still poor in many areas today. Long-term particulate concentrations are still UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, Missoula, Frenchtown, and Great Falls, although for the last few hours, particulate hourly particulate concentrations have been MODERATE and GOOD. Elsewhere, air quality is also getting worse in the Flathead Valley. All hourly concentrations have been GOOD, but long-term concentrations have been MODERATE. In the far northwest, to the southwest, and out east, air quality is GOOD just about everywhere, except for some locations that are very near to active fires.
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 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are starting to show up again in southwestern Montana, and some of these are turning into thunderstorms. Also, once again, these clouds are masking the smoke plumes in Idaho, which are blowing our way.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are starting to show up again in southwestern Montana, and some of these are turning into thunderstorms. Also, once again, these clouds are masking the smoke plumes in Idaho, which are blowing our way.


 
Radar imagery across the region as of 3:15 this afternoon. You can see those isolated thunderstorms across parts of western Montana.

Radar imagery across the region as of 3:15 this afternoon. You can see those isolated thunderstorms across parts of western Montana.


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  Great Falls B24
Seeley Lake B24
Missoula B24
Frenchtown B24
Hamilton B24

All of the above have improved this afternoon
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  
  Moderate

 Flathead Valley B24, B8
 

  Good

 Libby
Sidney
West Yellowstone
Butte
Billings
Helena B8, B1
Bozeman B8, B1
 

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.