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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Monday, October 1, 2012 3:35 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Gusty winds and warm temperatures are occurring this afternoon as forecasted. Wildfire smoke has impacted hourly particulate concentrations this afternoon in parts of western Montana, particularly, the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys. Hourly particulate concentrations have been near MODERATE at times in Hamilton, and near levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula and Frenchtown. Cumulative smoke exposures are UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula, and MODERATE in Frenchtown. Hourly particulate concentrations also reached MODERATE levels in Butte late this morning, which have brought cumulative smoke exposures to levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Elsewhere, air quality remains mostly unchanged from this morning’s update. Cumulative smoke exposures remain MODERATE in Helena, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Air quality is GOOD at all other monitoring locations. Satellite images below show a lack of wildfire smoke in the atmosphere this afternoon.

Winds will die down tonight as some valley inversions develop in western Montana. In the Bitterroot Valley, this could trap any smoke until tomorrow morning. By mid-morning, valley inversions should be gone and winds should be very strong again as the cold front approaches. By noon, the surface cold front should start moving south of the hi-line. Winds will be very strong along the front and winds will change direction where they will come from the northeast behind the front. The cold front will push over the Continental Divide and over northwest Montana between 1:00-3:00. It will continue to move south and through Great Falls and Helena before 7:00. Finally, it will reach far southwestern Montana overnight. This is generally how the front should pass from north to south throughout the day. Air quality should be GOOD tomorrow, especially behind the cold front. Rain will develop at low elevations behind the front, and some of that rain may turn to snow overnight and on Wednesday morning as temperatures will be well below normal. Air quality will remain GOOD throughout the week as the atmosphere remains somewhat unstable and the change in the weather helps to control active wildfires.
Hourly particulate concentrations have been near MODERATE at times in Hamilton, and near levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula and Frenchtown. Cumulative smoke exposures are UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Missoula, and MODERATE in Frenchtown. Hourly particulate concentrations also reached MODERATE levels in Butte late this morning, which have brought cumulative smoke exposures to levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Elsewhere, air quality remains mostly unchanged from this morning’s update. Cumulative smoke exposures remain MODERATE in Helena, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Air quality is GOOD at all other monitoring locations.
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 2:30 this afternoon.  

This is the visible satellite image from 2:30 this afternoon.


 
This is a high-definition, colored satellite image from 2:30 this afternoon of eastern Idaho and western Montana. Some wildfire smoke is visible in Idaho and across the Bitterroot Valley.

This is a high-definition, colored satellite image from 2:30 this afternoon of eastern Idaho and western Montana. Some wildfire smoke is visible in Idaho and across 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 

Wildfire smoke is reducing visibility in the Missoula Valley this afternoon.

Wildfire smoke is reducing visibility in the Missoula Valley this afternoon.

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
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Missoula B24, B8
Frenchtown B1(1)
Butte B24, B8
  Moderate

 Helena B24
 

  Good

 Libby
Flathead Valley
Great Falls
Dillon
Billings
Sidney
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
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.