Wildfire Smoke Updates Home | Archived Wildfire Smoke Updates | Today's Air

Wildfire Smoke Update
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 9:25 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions

Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Decent amounts of smoke were produced yesterday afternoon and evening, and air quality across much of southwestern Montana reflects this. Hourly concentrations in Butte and Hamilton are UNHEALTHY. Hourly concentrations in Missoula are MODERATE, but cumulative exposures are UNHEALTHY. Hourly smoke concentrations have been increasing in Bozeman this morning, elevating from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Hourly concentrations in Helena and Great Falls are GOOD, but cumulative concentrations are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS and MODERATE, respectively. Finally, thanks to a temporary air monitor that was placed in Dillon by the Forest Service, we know that hourly concentrations in Dillon are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and cumulative concentrations are UNHEALTHY. Northwestern and most of eastern Montana is GOOD this morning.

Red Flag Warnings are in effect today in the northeast corner of Montana today for more gusty winds and dry conditions. The entire state will stay sunny and dry today, but wind speeds will be calmer across western Montana and even over into Idaho, so it is expected that fire activity and smoke production will be less than yesterday. However, because of a strong, stable ridge of high pressure, smoke that is already in the valleys of western Montana will not clear out as quickly as some may hope. If air quality does improve, it will be very gradual.

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




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
  Very Unhealthy  Hamilton B24
  Unhealthy  Missoula B24
Butte B24, B8, B1
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Helena B24
West Yellowstone B24
Frenchtown B24
-All hourly concentrations are GOOD-

Bozeman B24, B8, B1

 Great Falls B24
-Hourly concentrations are GOOD-


Flathead Valley
Seeley Lake

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.