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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Friday, August 31, 2012 3:15 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is poor across much of western Montana again. Cumulative smoke exposures from the Bitterroot Valley beyond to Great Falls are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY . Smoke from Idaho and southwestern Montana is invading the area. Hot, dry conditions today, with some gusty winds today, are helping fires to produce more smoke, on top of what was left over from late yesterday evening, when another huge smoke plume from Idaho traveled east over western Montana and settled in overnight. For the rest of the day, expect similar, smoky conditions with mostly poor air quality. Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches are in effect for Saturday across almost the entire state. A cold front is expected to pass from the northwest to the southeast tomorrow, which will create several dangerous fire weather conditions. Very low humidities will exist tomorrow, along with gusty winds. As the cold front passes throughout the day, winds will get stronger and a change in wind direction will occur. These factors will be ideal for fanning the fires and smoke production. Along with the dangerous weather conditions, thunderstorms are possible, which will create locally gusty winds and lightning which may spark new fires. Expect tomorrow to be another smoky day. Tomorrow night, winds will become more calm and atmospheric winds will blow from the west. This should help to alleviate smoke impacts across northern Montana, but the southern half of Montana will continue to see smoke. This westerly wind flow will continue through the holiday weekend and in the first part of the week. The forecast stays dry and warm, with no beneficial rain in sight. Air quality is poor over much of western and central Montana. Fires in Idaho and southwestern Montana are creating air quality problems that are at least 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 2:3-0 this afternoon. Clouds are across the region, which are blocking the view of the smoke plumes below, which are having such a huge impact on the air quality.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:3-0 this afternoon. Clouds are across the region, which are blocking the view of the smoke plumes below, which are having such a huge impact on the air quality.


 





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  Missoula B24
Hamilton B24, B8
Butte B24, B8
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Helena B24
Bozeman B24, B8
Frenchtown B24
Great Falls B24
Seeley Lake B24, B8
  Moderate

 West Yellowstone B24
Billings B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
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.