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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 3:15 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality continues to be poor across much of western Montana this afternoon. Looking at the visible satellite image below, we can see many smoke plumes in Idaho, which are all blowing toward western Montana. The Bitterroot Valley is taking a lot of smoke. Air quality there is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY. Farther north in Missoula, hourly smoke concentrations have been GOOD all day today, but long-term smoke concentrations are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Further to the north, most of Lincoln County is GOOD to MODERATE, and the Flathead Valley is generally GOOD for one-hour concentrations and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS for a 24 hour accumulation. All along the Swan Valley, conditions are similar to that of the Flathead. Most of southwestern Montana is still GOOD. Out east, air quality is also GOOD, except for some locations near the Delphia fire and other grass fires which are MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.

Temperatures are over 100 degrees in some parts of eastern Montana this afternoon, and it will continue to get hotter for the next couple of hours. Relative humidities are also in the single digits in some places, and winds are gusting over 15 mph. Red Flag Warnings are still in effect almost state-wide until midnight tonight. Winds will start to pick up this evening and tonight as a low pressure system and cold front start to impact the state. The cold front will start in western Montana tonight, and will travel east across the state overnight and through tomorrow morning. No precipitation is expected with this cold front once again. Dispersion will be good thanks to this weather system, and should improve air quality impacts in northwestern Montana and the Bitterroot Valley. However, as this smoke is pushed east, air quality downwind may get worse for a few hours. Temperatures will be cooler tomorrow behind the cold front, but winds will be fairly quick to switch around again, from the northwest to the southeast. This is in response to another weather system and cold front expected late Thursday night and Friday morning. This one will be weaker, but it should further help to try and clear some of the smoke from the Big Sky.
Air quality continues to be poor across much of western Montana this afternoon. Looking at the visible satellite image below, we can see many smoke plumes in Idaho, which are all blowing toward western Montana. The Bitterroot Valley is taking a lot of smoke. Air quality there is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY. Farther north in Missoula, hourly smoke concentrations have been GOOD all day today, but long-term smoke concentrations are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Further to the north, most of Lincoln County is GOOD to MODERATE, and the Flathead Valley is generally GOOD for one-hour concentrations and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS for a 24 hour accumulation. All along the Swan Valley, conditions are similar to that of the Flathead. Most of southwestern Montana is still GOOD. Out east, air quality is also GOOD, except for some locations near the Delphia fire and other grass fires which are MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS.
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 2:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are visible again in Idaho and in Yellowstone. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:30 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are visible again in Idaho and in Yellowstone.


 
This is another webcam image from Hamilton this afternoon. Smoke is heavy and visibility is reduced.

This is another webcam image from Hamilton this afternoon. Smoke is heavy and visibility is reduced.


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  Flathead Valley B24
Seeley Lake B24
Missoula B24
-All the above have been GOOD for hourly observations-

Frenchtown B24, B8
Hamilton B24, B8, B1
  Moderate

 Great Falls B24
Libby B24, B8
 

  Good

 Helena
Butte
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
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.