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Latest forecast predicts "above normal" fire potential in Western MT

NIFC fire map June forecast.png
Posted at 8:11 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 10:11:14-04

Wetter weather in recent weeks is helping fire danger but the latest outlook is predicting "above normal" fire potential in Western Montana for the peak of summer.

The latest outlook came last week from the forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center, who are expecting a stronger chance of thunderstorms that could start fires in July and August.

"Overall expectation going into the core months of the fire season for July are right along the Continental Divide westward," explained Northern Rockies Predictive Meteorologist Coleen Haskill. "We expect to see above average significant fire potential, and partially that’s due to a more active monsoon."

"We could get more lightning ignitions this year than what we saw last year because we didn’t have a monsoon. But then for August, the expectation is that we will see above normal significant fire potential for all of the Northern Rockies including Southwest Montana, and even east of the Continental Divide for all the eastern half of Montana and North Dakota," Haskill continued.

And with drought running as high as 87% across the West as summer starts, even if the fires don't start in Montana, smoke and poor air quality is likely to be a problem.