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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:38 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Smoke and air quality problems are still in the same southwest region of the state this morning. A general haze is visible on the horizon across west-central Montana, but this smoke is not affecting air quality, as hourly particulate concentrations are GOOD in places like Helena, Seeley Lake, and Great Falls. Hourly concentrations are also GOOD in Missoula, Butte, and Bozeman, but those cumulative concentrations are still MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. West Yellowstone is MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Valleys in Madison County are also MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but the smokiest places are the Bitterroot Valley and the valleys in Beaverhead County. Hourly concentrations in Hamilton are UNHEALTHY this morning, and cumulative concentrations are VERY UNHEALTHY. Northwestern and most of eastern Montana are still GOOD today.

A dry cold front is expected to move south across the state today. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for eastern Montana counties in anticipation of low relative humidities and strong winds associated with the cold front. Fire weather conditions should not be critical across western Montana, but breezy winds and continued dry weather will certainly be a factor in fire activity today. High atmospheric winds will also continue to blow smoke over Montana from Washington and Oregon. This smoke makes up a lot of the hazy skies that we are seeing over the central portions of the state, but is having little effect on the air quality at the ground. Atmospheric winds will also continue to blow Idaho’s wildfire smoke across southwestern Montana today, which will continue to impact air quality.

There will be another update this afternoon with the latest fire activity, smoke conditions, and a full forecast.
Please see "Today's Report and Forecast" (left). There will be another update this afternoon with the latest fire activity, smoke conditions, and a full forecast.
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 webcam is at the Big Hole Pass in southwestern Montana, and it shows the heavy smoke that remains there this morning.

This webcam is at the Big Hole Pass in southwestern Montana, and it shows the heavy smoke that remains there this morning.





 




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  Missoula B24
-Hourly concentrations are GOOD-

West Yellowstone B24, B8
  Moderate

 Butte B24
Bozeman B24
Helena B24
Frenchtown B24
-All hourly concentrations are GOOD-
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake
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.