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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 3:24 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Rain and snow fell across a broad region of Montana today. It seems that the only locations that did not receive much or any precipitation were far western and southwestern Montana. This also means that precipitation did not reach the wildfires in Idaho; without a good amount of rain or snow over those wildfires (and the Sawtooth Fire west of Hamilton), fire season will carry on. However, with the north winds and good dispersion today, air quality is GOOD across the state. Cumulative smoke exposures are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Hamilton and MODERATE in Seeley Lake, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD today.

Air quality will stay good tomorrow and Friday, as north winds prevail over the area. Cold temperatures will also minimize fire activity during this time. Very light, isolated pockets of precipitation is possible in eastern Montana on Thursday. A weak disturbance is expected on Friday, but it seems that its only effect will be very light precipitation over southeastern Montana and possibly over some of the mountains as well. North atmospheric winds will continue on Saturday and most of Sunday, so air quality stay GOOD during this time. Some smoke should be visible, though, in the Bitterroot Valley as the firefighters continue with containment efforts on the Sawtooth Fire. Temperatures will slowly warm up over the weekend, and atmospheric winds will start to come from the west by late Sunday. This may push some additional wildfire smoke into the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys. However, a weak cold front is expected on Monday, which will change the wind direction again to help clear the air once more. Very little precipitation is expected on Monday and Tuesday because of this cold front. The weather has become more active now, and it certainly feels more fall-like. Now all we need is for a weather system, with a lot of precipitation, to come from the west. We need rain and/or snow over the wildfires in Washington and Idaho before we can officially call an end to the wildfire smoke.
Air quality is GOOD across the state. Cumulative smoke exposures are still UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Hamilton and MODERATE in Seeley Lake, but hourly concentrations have been GOOD today.
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 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are all over the state in response to the cold front and weather system. 

This is the visible satellite image from 2:45 this afternoon. Clouds are all over the state in response to the cold front and weather system.


 





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 




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  
  Moderate

  

  Good

 All reporting locations 

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.