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Wildfire Smoke Update
Thursday, August 13, 2020 4:53 PM

Satellite Photos | Locations and Smoke Conditions

Today's Report and Forecast Today's Summary
Current Conditions
Air quality across the state has been between GOOD and MODERATE today. The Bear Creek Fire has grown rapidly since its discovery on Tuesday, and has now grown to over 3,000 acres. Smoke from this fire has caused air quality to reach MODERATE in Dillon and Bozeman. In eastern Montana, Havre, Malta, and Broadus have reported MODERATE air quality today, but this is likely related to dust and not wildfire smoke. However, smoke from northern California fires is still over Montana, which could be causing minor air quality impacts across the southern half of the state.

There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms across southwest Montana this evening. Southwesterly flow has prevailed today, as an upper-level trough pushes through the state. As this trough continues to push eastward, a ridge of high pressure will build over the Pacific Northwest, and northwesterly flow will take over in Montana. This pattern is expected to set up by Friday afternoon, directing smoke from the Bear Creek Fire southeast and out of Montana.
Prevailing southwesterly flow has ushered smoke from the Bear Creek Fire towards Dillon and Bozeman, causing MODERATE air quality impacts in both locations. Air quality is expected to improve Friday, as a northwesterly flow pattern sets up.
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

Southwesterly flow over Montana. 

Southwesterly flow over Montana.
Source: COD Meteorology

The NAM model shows northwesterly flow setting up by Friday afternoon.

The NAM model shows northwesterly flow setting up by Friday afternoon.
Source: COD Meteorology


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  

 Dillon, Bozeman, Seeley Lake, Malta, Broadus 


 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.