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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Sunday, September 9, 2012 4:15 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Wildfire smoke settled across much of western and central Montana last night after the large smoke plumes were in the sky yesterday. The worst air quality is found from the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula, across Helena and the Swan Valley, and past Great Falls. Cumulative particulate concentrations across much of this region are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, except for the Bitterroot Valley, which is UNHEALTHY. Northwest and southeast Montana are mostly GOOD. Other parts of southwest Montana, like Bozeman, are reporting as GOOD, too, but smoke is visible in the air.

Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches are in effect all across the state except for extreme northwestern Montana. Conditions this afternoon have already verified the forecasted fire weather. Temperatures across much of eastern Montana are in the 90s and humidities are very low. Winds are also breezy, and will continue to be strong for the rest of tonight and on Monday. A cold front is just starting to make its way across northwestern Montana, and it will continue to move east across the state tonight and early tomorrow. Strong winds and a change in wind direction are expected along the frontal boundary. Also, a chance for thunderstorms along the cold front may spark new fires by lightning. Humidities will be low again tomorrow with continued winds. However, temperatures will be much cooler for the beginning of the work week because of this cold front. In fact, temperatures will be near freezing on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for most of the state. Humidities will stay low all week with a constant flow of dry air coming into the state.
Wildfire smoke settled across much of western and central Montana last night after the large smoke plumes were in the sky yesterday. The worst air quality is found from the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula, across Helena and the Swan Valley, and past Great Falls. Cumulative particulate concentrations across much of this region are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, except for the Bitterroot Valley, which is UNHEALTHY. Northwest and southeast Montana are mostly GOOD. Other parts of southwest Montana, like Bozeman, are reporting as GOOD, too, but smoke is visible in the air.
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 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are across the western half of the state in association with an approaching weather system and cold front. Unfortunately, these clouds are also blocking the satellite view of the smoke which is affecting air quality in western Montana. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are across the western half of the state in association with an approaching weather system and cold front. Unfortunately, these clouds are also blocking the satellite view of the smoke which is affecting air quality in western Montana.


 





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 purple 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  Hamilton B24, B8
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Missoula B24, B8, B1
Frenchtown B24
Seeley Lake B24
Helena B24
Butte B24, B8
Great Falls B24, B8
  Moderate

 Bozeman B24
Flathead Valley B24
 

  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.