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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Sunday, September 30, 2012 7:45 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality has improved today with minimal fire activity across the region. Satellite images and smoke products show very little smoke produced in western Montana or Idaho. It was only later this afternoon when heavier amounts of smoke were produced in Idaho, and that smoke is now traveling east over the Bitterroot Valley and parts of western Montana. Hourly particulate concentrations have been GOOD in Hamilton today, until a few hours ago when concentrations became MODERATE; cumulative smoke exposure is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Cumulative smoke exposure is also UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Helena, but hourly concentrations are GOOD. Cumulative particulate concentrations are MODERATE in Libby, the Flathead Valley, Frenchtown, Seeley Lake, and Sidney, but hourly concentrations are also GOOD. Air quality is GOOD everywhere else.

Red Flag Warnings are in effect for parts of central Montana, and Fire Weather Watches are in effect for other parts of Montana through Tuesday. Winds will be very strong tomorrow, especially off the Rocky Mountain Front. Temperatures will be very warm and relative humidities will be low. Fire weather will be dangerous east of the Continental Divide. Winds will continue to be strong on Tuesday, as a weather system approaches the state. A cold front will drop from the north in the afternoon and will move south throughout the night. Widespread rain is expected with the cold front, but snow will fall in the mountains. Rain should turn to snow overnight at low elevations as temperatures become very cold. Air quality should be GOOD by Wednesday with continued precipitation, some wind, and unstable air. This weather will continue until Friday, when another cold front should pass again, with potentially more precipitation.
Hourly particulate concentrations have been GOOD in Hamilton today, until a few hours ago when concentrations became MODERATE; cumulative smoke exposure is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Cumulative smoke exposure is also UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Helena, but hourly concentrations are GOOD. Cumulative particulate concentrations are MODERATE in Libby, the Flathead Valley, Frenchtown, Seeley Lake, and Sidney, but hourly concentrations are also GOOD. Air quality is GOOD everywhere else.
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 a visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon.  

This is a visible satellite image from 4:30 this afternoon.


 
This is a high-definition, colored satellite image of Idaho and western Montana this afternoon. Smoke plumes from Idaho were very minimal today, but smoke is visible in the Bitterroot Valley.

This is a high-definition, colored satellite image of Idaho and western Montana this afternoon. Smoke plumes from Idaho were very minimal today, but smoke is visible in the Bitterroot Valley.


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 

This webcam is at the Gates of the Mountains and overlooks the Helena Valley. Some smoke is still in the air, but long-range visibility has improved.

This webcam is at the Gates of the Mountains and overlooks the Helena Valley. Some smoke is still in the air, but long-range visibility has improved.

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  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Hamilton B24, B8
Helena B24
  Moderate

 Great Falls B24
Seeley Lake B24
Flathead Valley B24
Frenchtown B24
Libby B24
 

  Good

 West Yellowstone
Billings
Butte
Dillon
Missoula
Bozeman
Billings
 

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.