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

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:51 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
As a whole, hourly particulate concentrations are GOOD to MODERATE across most of western Montana. Hourly concentrations are even MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the Bitterroot Valley. Cumulative smoke exposures are still UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, and UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Libby, Frenchtown, Missoula, Seeley Lake, and Butte. Cumulative concentrations are MODERATE in the Flathead Valley, Helena, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Billings, Sidney, and Dillon. Of course with improving air quality comes improving visibility, and webcams around the state do in fact show a wider range of visibility this morning.

There is still smoke in the air over much of the state. Temperatures are expected to warm up a little more than yesterday and with much more sunshine. This will allow the atmosphere to mix during the afternoon, which may mix some of that wildfire smoke towards the ground to at least keep air quality the same or just a little worse. A ridge of high pressure will build in today, which will reinforce the stable, sinking air. The Bitterroot Valley will, again, remain the smokiest valley in western Montana, smoke from Idaho will continue to spread into other western valleys throughout the day.

There will be another update this afternoon with the latest smoke conditions, fire activity, and a full forecast.
Please see "Today's Report and Forecast" (left). There will be another update this afternoon with the latest smoke conditions, fire activity, 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 from the Whitefish Ski Resort shows the smoke that is still in the atmosphere over the Flathead Valley, which may mix down to the ground this afternoon.

This webcam from the Whitefish Ski Resort shows the smoke that is still in the atmosphere over the Flathead Valley, which may mix down to the ground this afternoon.


Similar conditions are seen over the Helena Valley, where smoke that is in the atmosphere now may mix to the ground later today.

Similar conditions are seen over the Helena Valley, where smoke that is in the atmosphere now may mix to the ground later today.

Red indicates hot spot detected. Grey represents smoke seen by satellite. Fire size is exaggerated for visibility at this scale. To identify individual fires on graphic above go here: https://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  
  Unhealthy  Hamilton B24, B8
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Seeley Lake B24
Missoula B24
Frenchtown B24
Libby B24
Butte B24
  Moderate

 Dillon B24
Great Falls B24
Billings B24
Sidney B24
Helena B24
Bozeman B24
Flathead Valley B24
 

  Good

 West Yellowstone 

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.