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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:00 AM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Air quality is still being affected by wildfire smoke at this time in the Bitterroot Valley. Cumulative smoke exposures are still UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, and hourly concentrations are rising and are now UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Cumulative smoke exposures are still fairly high in other western valleys, like in Frenchtown where it is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS; and Libby, Missoula, Seeley Lake, and Butte, where it is MODERATE, but hourly concentrations in all of these locations have been GOOD today. Air quality is GOOD in all other locations.

Very stable and calm air will be in place over Montana today, which should keep most of the wildfire smoke in the Bitterroot Valley. Clouds will dissipate throughout the day as the ridge of high pressure builds, which is the reason for the calm and stable air. Tomorrow, temperatures will be warmer and winds will be breezier. Stronger west winds may continue to blow wildfire smoke into the Bitterroot and maybe even the Missoula Valleys. Over the weekend, the atmosphere will become more unstable as weather disturbances start to come from the west. This will bring some rain and/or snow to parts of Idaho and western Montana through the weekend. This may be very good news to the still-active wildfires in Idaho. The moisture will continue for the first few days of next week, and by Tuesday and Wednesday, precipitation should spread into central and eastern parts of Montana along with a mid-week cold front. Air quality should improve everywhere through the next week.
Cumulative smoke exposures are still UNHEALTHY in Hamilton, and hourly concentrations are rising and are now UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Cumulative smoke exposures are still fairly high in other western valleys, like in Frenchtown where it is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS; and Libby, Missoula, Seeley Lake, and Butte, where it is MODERATE, but hourly concentrations in all of these locations have been GOOD today. Air quality is GOOD in all other 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 10:15 this morning. The clouds that are over most of Montana are very low-level clouds. We can tell this because we can specifically make out several of the valleys in southwest Montana, where the clouds are below the mountain tops. Although harder to distinguish, we can also see some of the mountain peaks in the Crazy, Bridger, Big Belt, and Little Belt Mountains, that are poking above the clouds. 

This is the visible satellite image from 10:15 this morning. The clouds that are over most of Montana are very low-level clouds. We can tell this because we can specifically make out several of the valleys in southwest Montana, where the clouds are below the mountain tops. Although harder to distinguish, we can also see some of the mountain peaks in the Crazy, Bridger, Big Belt, and Little Belt Mountains, that are poking above the clouds.


 





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  Hamilton B24, B8
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  Frenchtown B24
  Moderate

 Libby B24
Seeley Lake B24
Missoula B24
Butte B24
 

  Good

 Flathead Valley
Helena
Bozeman
West Yellowstone
Dillon
Billings
Great Falls
Sidney
 

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.