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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, September 17, 2012 2:42 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is becoming MODERATE in some parts of southwestern and west-central Montana, which was expected. A thin area of smoke is across this part of the state which is from wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Looking at the satellite image below, a broad area of smoke is visible across eastern Idaho and the Bitterroot Valley. Hourly particulate concentrations in Hamilton are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY. Nearby, hourly concentrations have become MODERATE in Missoula. Hourly particulate concentrations continue to be GOOD in Seeley Lake, Helena, Butte, and Bozeman, though cumulative smoke exposures may range from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Eastern and northwestern Montana observations continue to be GOOD.

Tonight, expect smoke conditions to stay fairly constant. West-central Montana will continue to gradually clear, and smoke will continue to be confined to the southwestern counties, from Ravalli over to Park. Tomorrow, a relatively weak cold front will move south across the state. Winds will become breezy tomorrow, near speeds that would cause high fire activity. The cold front will have no precipitation and temperatures will only drop a couple degrees. The biggest impact from the wind will be across eastern Montana, which will be dangerous for the two fires there. Across western Montana and Idaho, winds should keep smoke generally contained to the west and southwest. Aside from tomorrow’s weak cold front, the rest of the week will be warm and dry with light to moderate winds. This is because of a large ridge of high pressure over the west coast. The air will be mostly stable and stagnant during the week, so smoke will remain across the southwest. Right now, there is only a slight chance for rain this coming Sunday. With another completely dry week ahead of us, fire season will continue on through the third full week of September.
Hourly particulate concentrations in Hamilton are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY. Nearby, hourly concentrations have become MODERATE in Missoula. Hourly particulate concentrations continue to be GOOD in Seeley Lake, Helena, Butte, and Bozeman, though cumulative smoke exposures may range from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Eastern and northwestern Montana observations continue to be GOOD.
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 2:00 this afternoon. Smoke is visible again around Missoula and down the Bitterroot Valley.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:00 this afternoon. Smoke is visible again around Missoula and down the Bitterroot Valley.


 





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  Hamilton B24
  Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Butte B24
  Moderate

 Missoula B24, B8, B1
Frenchtown B24, B1
West Yellowstone B24
Bozeman B24
Seeley Lake B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Helena
Great Falls
Billings
Sidney
 

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.