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Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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11,065 posts
773 reviews
Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

To keep up to date on smoke pollution and fires that may affect Glacier and the Flathead Valley watch this thread. We will try to keep it updated for you.

Use the links below to keep apprised of any health hazards. Smoke pollution can be irritating for everyone, but for those who have lung/heart or allergy issues it can make you sick or very uncomfortable. The elderly and infants are affected more quickly.

…mt.gov/deq/…mostRecentUpdate.aspx

http://deq.mt.gov/Air/2017Air/smokecategories

208 replies to this topic
Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,065 posts
773 reviews
1. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Today began with a strong smell of smoke in the Flathead Valley. There are no fires in the immediate area but there are some to the west of us near Libby and to the south of us in the Bitterroot Valley area. Smoke is blowing into the area on winds aloft from states to the west and SW of us and from the Okanagan Valley NW of us in Canada.

The valley is fairly hazy and the normal view into Glacier through the Columbia Falls gap is blocked at the moment. That could change during the day as it often does.

The weather is getting hotter and windier and there are weather predictions for those sporadic spotty rain/dry lightening storms in the evenings. Keep fingers crossed that we get no new fires.

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
25 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Keeping my fingers crossed! We're flying into Kalispell two weeks from today and are spending two nights in West Glacier and four nights on the east side, in Many Glacier. Hoping all the firefighters and people in the path of the fires stay safe!

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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505 reviews
3. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Thanks for the info. It has been a nasty fire season already in the West. Wish we could send you some of our rain!

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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4. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

This morning it is actually very cool at 10:30 and only moderately hazy. But it looks like trouble ahead. There are several new fires nearby started by lightening yesterday. One west of us near the Yaak, one NW near Eureka and one down S of us at Ronan.

Papers up here today, on August 6th say "Fire Season Heating UP". I guess that is true because the forecast is for nineties in the valley beginning tomorrow and 100's until it begins to cool down again on Saturday.

TUE..91/51, sunny and light wind.

WED...95/55, sunny, light wind

THU...100/58, sunny, light wind

FRI...102/59, sunny light wind

SAT...85/51, mostly sunny, light winds

Directly from this morning's DEQ report:

"The relatively light fire activity in Montana is an anomaly this year. Fire activity in California, Oregon, and Washington remains intense, sending up a significant amount of smoke each day.

There is nothing but bad news to report for the upcoming week. A strong ridge of high pressure is building over the area. This large area of stable air could lead to temperatures above 100 for much of the state later this week. In addition to the extreme heat, smoke from fires in Washington, California and Oregon will soon return to Montana, traveling north along the ridge and then spreading out over much of the west. By Wednesday we should see widespread hazy skies over the region. Much like last week, this smoke should remain mainly above the ground, making it look worse than it is on the ground. Air quality on the ground will slowly worsen, possibly reaching UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in some areas by midweek. Of course, with the extreme heat, fire danger in Montana will continue to increase. With new fires, or increased activity on existing fires, comes the risk of rapidly deteriorating air quality near the fires. The one tiny bit of ‘good’ news is that if significant amounts of smoke move over the region, it may keep the afternoon high temperatures from reaching their full potential later in the week.

Right now, it looks like the ridge will break down over the weekend. It is too soon to say what the air quality in the state will look like by then, but if the ridge does break down, we should see the smoke from CA and OR clear out of the state. Until then, expect smoke and decreasing air quality conditions throughout the week.

Enjoy the GOOD to MODERATE air quality, and relatively clear skies, that Montana is experiencing this Monday morning while they last. There is no way to sugar coat it, this week is going to be hot, hazy, and increasingly smoky. Temperatures in the 100s will increase fire danger here in Montana and a strong ridge of high pressure will carry smoke from the intense fires in California and Oregon up into Montana. Expect increasingly hazy skies throughout the week with air quality likely deteriorating to MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS as the week progresses."

…mt.gov/deq/…mostRecentUpdate.aspx

http://deq.mt.gov/Air/2017Air/smokecategories

Edited: 07 August 2018, 04:38
Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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11,065 posts
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5. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Its really getting smoky around here after more heat and new fire starts around us. Weather reports are for more afternoon lightening and winds. Air smoke pollution warnings are beginning to appear. The DEQ is now rating local air quality as moderate to unhealthy. This is the report for Thursday morning Aug. 9. Allergy sufferers are feeling it. Heavy eyes and coughs from the air particulates.

…mt.gov/deq/…mostRecentUpdate.aspx

http://deq.mt.gov/Air/2017Air/smokecategories

"The cause of this smoke is a combination of very active fires along the west coast, a cluster of fires in northwest Montana and the Idaho Panhandle, and a large, strong ridge of high pressure that is trapping the smoke over the region. As this week has progressed, hazy skies and smoke impacts have become more widespread. This pattern is expected to continue through Saturday afternoon as the ridge remains firmly in place. Expect air quality levels reaching UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to become more widespread by Friday, especially in NW Montana, with UNHEALTHY levels possible near the Garden Creek fire in the southern Flathead Valley. "

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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6. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

there is a fire very close, just outside of hot springs that directly impacts glacier

Nature Coast...
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216 posts
18 reviews
7. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

Thanks for keeping us up to date! I’ve been watching the webcams too but it’s nice to hear first hand experience. My husband has asthma so this is an issue we will have to watch closely.

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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11,065 posts
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8. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

The webcams are a tool but not all that great to get the real feel of the smoke...particularly if you have asthma. The smoke moves all around through and around various areas carried aloft on the winds...or if the wind stops, it settles down and does not move out of certain areas. Some areas can look clear-ish but a short drive or time passing can change the actual conditions.

Today we cannot even see an outline of the mountains from our home the smoke is so thick. It makes my eyes feel heavy and I am coughing quite a lot when we go outside. Its supposed to be 104 in the valley and still hot up in the park. The wind is not blowing at the moment. The air pollution is now at levels reaching UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. in NW Montana, UNHEALTHY levels near Ronan's Garden Creek fire in the southern Flathead Valley.

"On Saturday afternoon, a dry cold front is expected to swing through the state. This will cause increasing winds and the potential for dry thunderstorms. On the one hand, this should help clear out the built-up haze over the region. On the other hand, this will cause an increase in fire danger, with increased activity expected on the fires in NW Montana, Idaho, and Washington.

An increase in activity on these fires will send smoke into Montana along westerly winds. By Sunday, expect continued smoke impacts in northern Montana, especially in NW Montana near active fires. Of course, new fires could cause conditions to deteriorate rapidly."

I feel sorry for visitor's who plan August trips, who don't follow the news or the TA forums, and come here to find fire/smoke pollution as a surprise to them. It seems to happen every single year.

West Hartford...
Level Contributor
15 posts
33 reviews
9. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

If I’m undersating correctly, it’s worse than the webcams show? We are leaving in two weeks for a trip to Glacier/Banff and have been monitoring the webcams. We are considering cancelling because we would hate to get there and have seriously diminished views. I know a lot can change in two weeks but I’d rather come at a better time (mid-July) in the future than be disappointed.

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,065 posts
773 reviews
10. Re: Its Now Smoke Pollution/Fire Season In Glacier.

With asthma or desire for nice clear blue skies with puffy white clouds, it can be worse than the webcams show because of their limited view and their scope of the area is only a very small sample at a particular time of day.

Views will be hazy, rarely clear. You should not expect the clear blue skies you see in the brochures or standard website photos. The optimists will call the skies..."soft focus". Check that DEQ site and scroll down it...there is normally a sky view showing the smoke cover.

There are fires currently west of Banff/Jasper as well...blowing over from the Okanagan Valley. With fires scattered throughout millions & millions of acres of forest it normally does not improve all that much until much later. Many fires are in areas unaccessible to the fire crews who are working all over in the West. Those crews have to concentrate most on fires threatening people and their homes.

.....................

I will post a fire incident website from Canada below. Here is a report from August 8th on that site:

Fires of note in Canada:

As of August 8, British Columbia has 11 priority fires, of which six have triggered evacuation orders.

There are a total of 456 fires burning in BC, of which 255 are out of control, and a total of 3000 personnel supporting wildfire operations.

Parks Canada reports one priority fire, the Wardle Fire in Kootenay National Park. Highway 93 is closed and Kootenay Park Lodge has been evacuated.

..........

Smoke from fires in western North America continues to affect air quality between British Columbia and Saskatchewan, prompting advisories by Environment Canada. Heat advisories also cover much of this region for the next few days as a Pacific storm off the Pacific Northwest USA coast and a ridge centred over the desert states drive hot air into Canada.

Prognosis:

Hot and dry weather grips the western half of Canada until the weekend when a Pacific storm begins to move through the southern halves of British Columbia and Alberta. This is an important event with wind potentially giving high ignition indexes and spread rates, and instability likely generating widespread thundershowers.

The abundant fire activity around the Prince George region of British Columbia will likely remain on the fringe of the rain area.

https:/…wildfire-status

https:/…

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