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Smoke Forecast for Thursday, May 18, 2023

  • May 18 2023

Current Conditions


An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Beaverhead, Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Choteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, McCone, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Powell, Prairie, Ravalli, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, Yellowstone Counties due to elevated particulate levels. The decision is based on 24-hour trends expected to be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or worse range, and potentially exceeding the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards over the next day.

Wildfire smoke from Canada continues to pour into Montana. Currently, Kalispell, Helena, Miles City, and Broadus are seeing the worst impacts with Unhealthy levels of air quality. Sidney, Billings, Lewistown, Thompson Falls, and  Cut Bank are currently at Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Nine sites are reporting Moderate levels.

Significant impacts are anticipated across much of the state through early Friday.
Source: HRRR-smoke


Enormous wildfires continue to burn over western Canada. A cool front shifted the winds around Montana to the north earlier in the week. The shift in wind direction continues to funnel smoke across much of the state. Much of Montana has seen significant impacts as a result. However, the southwest corner of the state, including West Yellowstone, Dillon, and Hamilton have largely been spared. That could change over the next 24-hours, as a north/northeast flow continues.

Conditions can change quickly as weather could stimulate active fires and the likelihood of new starts increases. Please keep track of concentrations at or the Fire and Smoke Map.

Canadian wildfire smoke continues to spill south into Montana.

NOAA Satellite

Source: NOAA


Widespread smoke continues to linger throughout the state, causing significant impacts to air quality. Expect gradual improvements by Friday as winds become more westerly. This should begin to push the smoke out of the state.

Tags: Smoke Forecast 2023

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