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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Saturday, September 8, 2012 7:35 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is GOOD across most of the state, except for areas around Great Falls, the Swan Valley, and other small areas of western Montana, where air quality is becoming MODERATE. The Bitterroot Valley is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. A large area of smoke is over most of the state from fires in Idaho and a few in western Montana. The smoke plumes developed shortly after 4:00 this afternoon, and atmospheric winds blew smoke east. Monitored particulate concentrations in the aforementioned areas are trending up, and smoke is starting to settle as the sun sets.

The forecast for the next few days is a bit of a roller coaster. Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches are over most of the state for dangerous fire weather Sunday through Tuesday. Tomorrow, a weather system and cold front will start to pass across the state late in the afternoon and through the evening. Ahead of the cold front, winds will be very strong from the south and southwest so temperatures will be very hot. Relative humidities will also be very low and fire danger is high. Along the cold front, thunderstorms are possible and could trigger lightning and new fires. Smoke should be over much of western and central Montana, along with some higher smoke across the east. As the cold front passes through the night and morning, the wind will change direction, coming from the west and northwest behind the front. Much cooler air will come in behind the front, but very low relative humidities and continued strong winds will make for another high fire day. High fire activity will keep smoke in the air as well. Conditions will be similar on Tuesday as well. By Wednesday, winds will start to die down as a ridge of high pressure slowly moves into the region. Fire danger will not be quite as high, but smoke is still expected to be across parts of western Montana.
Air quality is GOOD across most of the state, except for areas around Great Falls, the Swan Valley, and other small areas of western Montana, where air quality is becoming MODERATE. The Bitterroot Valley is 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 4:45 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are all across Idaho and western Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 4:45 this afternoon. Smoke plumes are all across Idaho and western Montana.


 








 




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  Hamilton B24, B8
  Moderate

 Great Falls B24, B8
Seeley Lake B8
Frenchtown B8
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Sidney
Billings
West Yellowstone
Missoula
Helena
Butte
Bozeman
 

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.