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Wildfire Smoke Update
Thursday, August 29, 2019 5:18 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions

Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Current Conditions

Conditions are mostly GOOD around the state, as the cooler weather and periodic disturbances over the last couple of weeks have helped mitigate fire activity and create good dispersion. However, last night and this morning, Missoula saw levels reach the UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS level. Fortunately, yesterday’s 24-hour average was in the MODERATE category, and much today’s hourly values have also been MODERATE. Frenchtown has also seen MODERATE levels today.

There are active fires burning in western Montana and Idaho that are contributing to much of the smoke. Notable are the Shale Creek Fire, which started on 8/26, grew to about 75 acres yesterday. There is also a prescribed fire burning on the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest, which may be contributing to some of the haze in the air. Please see their Twitter or Facebook page for updates. There are other possible prescribed burns in the coming days, and the burners are mindful of the downwind impacts and planning accordingly. We will do our best to relay information when we have it. Starting September 1, the Fall Ventilation season starts for open burning.

There are also a few extra monitors in Montana that the Forest Service has deployed, notably in the Clark Fork drainage. See the monitored concentrations here.

Weak disturbances today have left cloudy skies and precipitation chances over the area. Scatter showers and thunderstorms are possible tomorrow. By the weekend, high pressure builds over western and central U.S., which will cause warmer and dryer conditions. Ventilation will hopefully be good for air quality with a southwest flow on the tail end of the ridge.
Expect GOOD to MODERATE impacts at most locations. Western Montana, especially Missoula, Frenchtown, and Hamilton appear to be most at risk for smoke settling in overnight, due to the fire activity to the west.
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

Smoke analysis from yesterday, 8/28/19. 

Smoke analysis from yesterday, 8/28/19.
Source: NOAA Hazard Mapping System

BlueSky run predicts a little smoke in the air for tomorrow.

BlueSky run predicts a little smoke in the air for tomorrow.
Source: USFS BlueSky


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
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  



 All other 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.