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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Sunday, September 16, 2012 6:47 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Although there is still smoke across much of the state today, air quality has improved from yesterday afternoon. Looking at the satellite image below, under the clouds, only thin and moderate amounts of smoke are visible across the southern half of the state. Cumulative particulate concentrations at every monitoring location are quite a bit higher than the hourly concentrations. For example, cumulative exposures in Butte, Bozeman, and Missoula are UNHEALTHY, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Likewise, cumulative concentrations in Helena, Libby, the Flathead Valley, and Seeley Lake are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but hourly concentrations are GOOD. Long-term exposures in Hamilton are still HAZARDOUS and hourly concentrations have been UNHEALTHY and dropping. Northwestern and eastern Montana are mostly GOOD today thanks to good dispersion and atmospheric winds that are coming from the north.

The north wind will continue to clear smoke from parts of west-central Montana tonight, as well as parts of southwestern Montana. The west and northwest wind should continue to clear smoke for the next few days. The only places that should see moderate or heavy smoke are the Bitterroot Valley and parts of extreme southwestern Montana. By Tuesday, we may see more critical fire weather with gusty winds, which may increase smoke across southwestern Montana.
Cumulative particulate concentrations at every monitoring location are quite a bit higher than the hourly concentrations. For example, cumulative exposures in Butte, Bozeman, and Missoula are UNHEALTHY, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Likewise, cumulative concentrations in Helena, Libby, the Flathead Valley, and Seeley Lake are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but hourly concentrations are GOOD. Long-term exposures in Hamilton are still HAZARDOUS and hourly concentrations have been UNHEALTHY and dropping. Northwestern and eastern Montana are mostly GOOD today thanks to good dispersion and atmospheric winds that are coming from the north.
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 5:30 this evening. Clouds are still all across the region, but some smoke can be seen across southwest and west-central Montana.  

This is the visible satellite image from 5:30 this evening. Clouds are still all across the region, but some smoke can be seen across southwest and west-central 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  Hamilton B24
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy  Missoula B24
Butte B24
Bozeman B24
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Frenchtown B24
Seeley Lake B24, B8
Helena B24
Libby B24
Flathead Valley B24
  Moderate

 West Yellowstone B24, B8
 

  Good

 Sidney
Billings
Great Falls
 

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.