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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, September 1, 2012 11:00 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is still poor in much of western and central Montana today. Cumulative smoke exposures are UNHEALTHY in the Bitterroot Valley, Missoula, Frenchtown, and Seeley Lake. Nearby valleys and towns should be similar as well. Even hourly particulate concentrations this morning have been MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Smoke is also MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the Flathead Valley, and near Bozeman, Livingston, and the Great Falls region. A cold front is passing across the state and strong winds are creating dangerous fire conditions once again. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for most of the state east of the Divide until 9:00 PM Sunday night. The cold front and associated weather system will create strong winds and a wind shift as the front passes. Low humidities are also expected, and thunderstorms are possible. Lightning from these storms will come in contact with extremely dry fuels and the dangerous fire weather will be ideal for new and rapid fire growth. With such dangerous fire conditions for at least the next two days, air quality is not likely to improve much. By tomorrow, though, atmospheric winds will blow mostly from the west, so the northern half of Montana may see the only real smoke clearing in the state, barring any new fires. Temperatures will be cooler (near-normal) for the week ahead, but without any real rain in the forecast, fires will just continue to burn and smoke will remain in parts of Montana through the first week of September. See "Today's Report and Forecast" (left).
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 10:00 this morning. Clouds are across part of the state in association with the weather system and cold front passing. You can also see some smoke in the Bitterroot Valley here.  

This is the visible satellite image from 10:00 this morning. Clouds are across part of the state in association with the weather system and cold front passing. You can also see some smoke in the Bitterroot Valley here.


 
This is a map from InciWeb which shows most of the current, large wildfires around Montana and surrounding states, which have produced smoke and poor air quality day after day.

This is a map from InciWeb which shows most of the current, large wildfires around Montana and surrounding states, which have produced smoke and poor air quality day after day.





 




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, B8
Frenchtown B24, B8
Hamilton B24, B8
Seeley Lake B24
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Bozeman B24
Great Falls B24
Flathead Valley B24
  Moderate

 Helena B24
Butte B24, B8
 

  Good

 Libby
Sidney
Billings
West Yellowstone
 

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.