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Wildfire Smoke Update
for
Thursday, August 8, 2019 1:17 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions


Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Current Conditions
Libby and northwest Montana is experiencing considerable smoke, mostly due to the fires in Eastern Washington and Canada, judging by this morning’s satellite images. Currently, Libby is at UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, while many other western locations are at MODERATE, and much of the rest of the state is currently GOOD.

Forecast
The hot and dry conditions have been favorable for wildfire activity, and it appears that smoke settled in to some locations overnight, as we saw some of the highest concentrations around the midnight hours. The ridge of high pressure will keep conditions hot and dry today, before some afternoon thunderstorm activity is possible over western Montana, which will hopefully help alleviate some air quality impacts. A stronger system will arrive Friday, which will bring precipitation and cooler temperatures with it, and should relieve some of the smoke, and help dampen down the fire activity.

Please see InciWeb for up to date fire information. Please visit todaysair.mt.gov to get the most up-to-date air quality concentrations. Please keep the visibility guidelines in mind when air quality information is not available at your location.
Air Quality Alert
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality alert for Lincoln county, in effect until 8AM Friday (unless conditions improve sooner). The air quality alert is due to smoke from wildfires in northwest Montana, Washington, and Canada. Conditions may improve briefly this afternoon and likely more significantly tomorrow as more widespread showers and cooler temperatures move into the area. This alert will be updated again at 8AM on 8/9/2019 if conditions have not improved before that.

An Air Quality Alert means that particulates have been trending upwards and that an exceedence of the 24 hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) has occurred or may occur in the near future.

Air quality is ranging between Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups and Unhealthy in the affected counties.

When air quality is Unhealthy... State and local health officials recommend that people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should avoid prolonged exertion; everyone else should limit prolonged exertion.

When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups... State and local health officials recommend that people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.

Summary
Expect widespread haze today and impacts from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, as the wildfire smoke blankets western Montana and moves east. We should see improvement beginning Friday and in to the weekend, as a low pressure trough pushes east and brings with it cooler temperatures and more widespread showers.
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 is visible over much of western Montana this morning. 

Smoke is visible over much of western Montana this morning.
Source: CIRA and NOAA. These data are preliminary and not operational.

 
Smoke was affecting much of the region, according to today’s satellite analysis.

Smoke was affecting much of the region, according to today’s satellite analysis.
Source: NOAA Hazard Mapping System

A little haze is visible in Whitefish this morning.

A little haze is visible in Whitefish this morning.

Source: Montana Webcams 

Active fires

Active fires
Source: InciWeb

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  Libby
Flathead Valley
  Moderate

 Thompson Falls
Seeley Lake
Helena
Bozeman
Lewistown
Billings

 

  Good

 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.