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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, September 6, 2012 3:30 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
The air quality has become mostly GOOD statewide for the first time in weeks. There are a few pockets of smoke from Montana’s own wildfires, but these are in mostly rural and forested locations. Cumulative particulate concentrations in Hamilton, Butte, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone are still UNHEALTHY to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but hourly concentrations late this morning and this afternoon have been GOOD. A north wind and a bit of instability in the air have blown and mixed out much of the smoke that has stuck around for the past few weeks. Air quality should generally stay GOOD throughout the night, as atmospheric winds work to keep at least Idaho’s smoke away from most of Montana. By Friday, atmospheric winds will become very light as a ridge of high pressure moves in and settles near the state. There will be little to no wind to speak of tomorrow, so smoke will generally remain in the region where it is produced. By Saturday morning, the wind will start to return as the ridge of high pressure moves around the US. Its location will put Montana in a southwesterly flow, meaning that atmospheric winds will blow from the southwest. Not only will this pull up some warmer air, as temperatures will be back in the 80s and 90s over the weekend, but fire activity should increase with the increasing heat and lowering humidity. Southwestern Montana will start to see smoke again until the next weather system, which should arrive on Monday; it will bring another strong cold front and even a chance of rain. The air quality has become mostly GOOD statewide for the first time in weeks. Cumulative particulate concentrations in Hamilton, Butte, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone are still UNHEALTHY to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but hourly concentrations late this morning and this afternoon have been GOOD. A north wind and a bit of instability in the air have blown and mixed out much of the smoke that has stuck around for the past few weeks. Air quality should generally stay GOOD throughout the night.
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. Clouds are all across the region because of a low pressure weather system and cold front, which have brought cooler temperatures to the area. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:30 this afternoon. Clouds are all across the region because of a low pressure weather system and cold front, which have brought cooler temperatures to the area.


 








 




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  
  Moderate

 Sidney 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Frenchtown
Missoula
Seeley Lake
Helena
Great Falls
Billings
Hamilton B1(4)
Butte B1(6)
Bozeman B8, B1
West Yellowstone 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.