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Old 09-25-2012, 01:21 PM
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Default Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Western Montana...er...I guess most of Montana, and at least Idaho are choked with thick smoke. A couple weeks ago a small fire on a West ridge just above the town of Hamilton started. I have a friend that works for the Forest Service, he saw photos of the fires before it blew up, it was the size of large bush that he said would have been easily snuffed with one helicopted drop. But because it was on the far side of a small ridge from Hamilton, the power's that be decided to leave it. Within a day it had blown up and over and down and now ... well, it doesn't matter.

We already had been getting smoke drifting in from a complex of fires south of there in Idaho. Missoula sits at the head of the long and broad Missoula Valley that is hemmed in for quite a ways. We always have inversion problems in the winter, but now the smoke is trapped and as it accumulates it blocks more sun and without heat down on the valley floor the inversion worsens. It's a crappy cycle.

We are doing rain dances. This isn't going to end until we get the hollowed "Season Ending Weather Event" i.e. rain/snow/freezing in the elevations.

This live shot is in Hamilton, where obviously the air quality is considered Very Unhealthy:
Hamilton Montana Web Cam - AllTrips

This is downtown Missoula, that outline of the hill you see in the background, is less than 1 mile.
Missoula County Webcam
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

MANY THANKS for the Hamilton Link. Love that 'little town.' Even though I'm sitting here 7'ish miles North of Medford Oregon I read their on line newspaper every day. Didn't know they had a 'road camera' link. I know exactly where that is 'on the ground.'

There for three weeks last September and it was fire season then too. Similar problem here in the south end of the Rogue River Valley. Fires all around us putting smoke into the Valley. Viability is at about 8 to 10 miles then mountains are just a grey blob.

Edit: The Rogue River valley is somewhat similarly situated with three three mountain ranges forming same. When smoke gets in, it doesn't want to go anywhere.

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Old 09-25-2012, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Same deal here in western Wyoming, smoke rolling in from fires in Utah and Idaho, one just north of Jackson and last week we had a big fire about 30 miles west of town, it definitely has been a smoke filled summer. We FINALLY got some rain last night so that should help the fire fighters.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Wish we'd get some rain here in Nor-Cal/Southern Oregon. Not a drop in the past 4 some months, and nothing in the forecast. "Possible showers" this weekend, but I'll believe that when I see the rain drops.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:28 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

The weather guessers have been really bad lately...
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Got that right Dave. Interesting thing is not the weather forecast but the sat-radar pic's of the US and where storms are forming up west of the Rockie Mountains. Zip/nada to the west, then BOOM up through the mid-west.

Appears there's lots of moisture in the easterly flows off the Pacific Ocean, it just takes a mountain range to kick it to gear.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

We've had the same issue here in Colorado. Down in Colorado Springs last Friday, Pikes Peak wasn't visible at all because of the smoke. Up where I live, it looks some days like we have a local volcano. Weather today looks like it's shifting the wind, so it may clear out here.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

All of these reports are unfortunate news to hear. It's been since 2006 since we have been veiled with smoke from fires here in the Greater Susitna Valley but I do recall the sight and smell of it. Today the upper Yetna and the Skwentna Rivers have crested and begun to fall while Lake Creek has done the same. Luke many of my friends here I wait to see if there will ba chance to be on the water before the cutting cold of late October is the order of the days.

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Old 09-25-2012, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
All of these reports are unfortunate news to hear. It's been since 2006 since we have been veiled with smoke from fires here in the Greater Susitna Valley but I do recall the sight and smell of it. Today the upper Yetna and the Skwentna Rivers have crested and begun to fall while Lake Creek has done the same. Luke many of my friends here I wait to see if there will ba chance to be on the water before the cutting cold of late October is the order of the days.

Ard

Ard: Our days of fishing are definitely numbered, today it snowed up in the Winds, it won't be long before it starts dumping the white stuff here in town.

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Old 09-25-2012, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Wildfire Smoke Choking the Valley

Oi vey, I can relate.

Local water just opened after a month of fire induced closures.
Headed there tomorrow to see if it still looks like the same river,
Still smokey around but at least I can see the mountain in the background again.
Will echo what Fred says, been waiting for some rain for a couple months now.
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