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

Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:45 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Some locations in western Montana saw an increase of wildfire smoke overnight which thus raised the “health effects categories” in some places. For example, cumulative smoke exposures in Helena are now UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, but hourly concentrations are GOOD. Likewise, cumulative exposures in Great Falls, Seeley Lake, and Butte are MODERATE, but hourly concentrations are also GOOD. Cumulative exposures in Missoula are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and even one hour this morning recorded such an exposure, but all other hourly concentrations have been GOOD. Similarly in Frenchtown and Hamilton, cumulative exposures are also UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, bout hourly concentrations have dropped from MODERATE after midnight to GOOD, currently. Air quality is generally GOOD in all other locations. It is not clear why the air monitor in West Yellowstone has observed two UNHEALTHY hours this morning, surrounded by GOOD hourly observations.

Red Flag Warnings are in effect for much of the state, so we will see that high fire danger again with gusty winds and low relative humidities. The cold front is still forecasted to move south across the state today. Colder air will be accompanied by a change in wind direction as the front moves through. Behind the front, winds will generally be out of the north and precipitation should follow. Rain is most likely at low elevations, but overnight and on Wednesday morning, some of that rain could turn to snow. The mountains, however, are expected to receive several inches of snow—especially the Rocky Mountain Front and the Big and Little Belt Mountains. Additional wildfire smoke may be produced today in the fire weather conditions, but air quality should improve drastically behind the cold front.

There will be another update this afternoon with the latest smoke conditions, weather conditions, and a full forecast.
Please see "Today's Report and Forecast" (left). There will be another update this afternoon with the latest smoke conditions, weather 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




 




 
This webcam is at the IMAX Theatre in West Yellowstone. Visibility looks good and the flags are blowing in the wind.

This webcam is at the IMAX Theatre in West Yellowstone. Visibility looks good and the flags are blowing in the wind.


The Sweet Grass webcam on I-15 along the Montana/Canadian border is looking north. The clouds in the image are associated with the weather system and cold front that will drop south across Montana today.

The Sweet Grass webcam on I-15 along the Montana/Canadian border is looking north. The clouds in the image are associated with the weather system and cold front that will drop south across Montana 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  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Helena B24, B8
Missoula B24
Frenchtown B24
Hamilton B24, B8
  Moderate

 Butte B24
Great Falls B24
Seeley Lake B24, B8
Libby B24
 

  Good

 Flathead Valley
Sidney
Billings
Bozeman
Dillon
 

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.