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Wildfire Smoke Update
Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:25 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions

Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is poor again across much of southwestern Montana. The western locations, from Frenchtown and all the way down to Bozeman, have mostly been impacted by Idaho’s wildfires. Frenchtown, Missoula, and Butte are all UNHEALTHY this morning. Hamilton is VERY UNHEALTHY, and Dillon and Bozeman are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Seeley Lake, Helena, and Great Falls have been impacted by wildfires in the Flathead National Forest and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Currently this morning, Seeley Lake and Helena are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and Great Falls is MODERATE. Cumulative particulate concentrations just became UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Libby, though hourly concentrations remain GOOD. Smoke in the northwest corner of the state is mostly from wildfires in Washington. Central Montana is GOOD to MODERATE, and eastern Montana is GOOD.

Most of the air quality information above is based on the cumulative, 24-hour average particulate concentrations. Hourly concentrations can be highly variable, so if you are in one of the thirteen monitoring locations and you need the most current observation, please click on the colored circle of the town of interest. If you need immediate air quality information, or if you are outside of one of these thirteen locations, don’t forget to use the visibility guidelines.

Breezy conditions are expected again today across far eastern Montana, while calm winds are expected in western Montana. The atmosphere is very stable and stagnant under this strong ridge of high pressure, so smoke will not get blown away by the wind or mixed high in the atmosphere. Western and southwestern valleys will stay smoky today with little improvement to air quality.

Another update will come this afternoon with the latest fire activity, smoke conditions, and a full forecast.
Please see "Today's Report and Forecast" (left). Another update will come 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, B8
  Unhealthy  Missoula B24, B8, B1
Butte B24, B8, B1
Frenchtown B24, B8
West Yellowstone B24
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Helena B24
Seeley Lake B24, B8
Bozeman B24, B8
Libby B24

 Great Falls B24 


Flathead Valley

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.