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

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 3:02 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is still fairly poor across parts of Montana this afternoon. The Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys are still the hardest-hit with wildfire smoke. Air quality is UNHEALTHY in Missoula and VERY UNHEALTHY in Hamilton. Cumulative particulate concentrations are also UNHEALTHY in Butte and Dillon, and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Bozeman and West Yellowstone. Hourly particulate concentrations have been mostly GOOD in Helena today, but cumulative concentrations are also still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Northwest and eastern Montana air quality continues to be GOOD.

The forecast will not change much in the next few days. A large, very stable and stagnant ridge of high pressure will stay over the western US. The poor dispersion caused by the very stable air will keep much of the smoke in the area. Smoke that is settled into the southwestern valleys will stay in the valleys, though the severity of the air quality impacts may fluctuate. Winds will be very light for the next couple of days, except for far eastern Montana which will stay fairly breezy. Again, there is no sign of precipitation in the forecast for at least the next week.
Air quality is UNHEALTHY in Missoula and VERY UNHEALTHY in Hamilton. Cumulative particulate concentrations are also UNHEALTHY in Butte and Dillon, and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Bozeman and West Yellowstone. Hourly particulate concentrations have been mostly GOOD in Helena today, but cumulative concentrations are also still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Northwest and eastern Montana air quality continues 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 2:15 this afternoon. Moderate amounts of smoke can be seen in central Idaho which is continuing to move east into the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:15 this afternoon. Moderate amounts of smoke can be seen in central Idaho which is continuing to move east into the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.


 
This is image compares what the air quality should look like in the Bitterroot Valley, as seen from Stevensville, (top), and what it actually looks like this afternoon (bottom).

This is image compares what the air quality should look like in the Bitterroot Valley, as seen from Stevensville, (top), and what it actually looks like this afternoon (bottom).


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  Missoula B24, B8
Butte B24, B8
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Bozeman B24, B8
Frenchtown B24, B8, B1
Helena B24
West Yellowstone B24
  Moderate

  

  Good

 Great Falls
Libby
Flathead Valley
Sidney
Billings
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.