Posted: Sep 27, 2012 2:29 PM by Chrissy Kohler - StormTracker Weather Center
Updated: Sep 28, 2012 7:42 AM
MISSOULA- It hasn't rained this month around Missoula. It's smoky, it's hot and it's dry, but we're not the only ones suffering. Everything from backyards to black bears are getting thirsty.
There's no way you can miss how dry it is in Western Montana, from the smoke to the continued fire danger, it's clear, that we are in need of rain.
But our lungs and the forests aren't the only ones suffering from a lack of moisture. The dryness is causing a whole host of problems.
Missoula horticulturist Seth Swanson says drought at this time of year makes it hard to care for our plants.
"It's tough this time of year because we want to taper off water anyway so that we don't encourage luxurious amounts of growth. But at the same time, we need to replace what's lost," he explained.
Swanson recommends paying attention to your plants and listening to what they're telling you. "Look at the trees, look at the plants and respond to their needs."
But agriculture isn't the only thing being affected by the recent dry spell in Western Montana. Wildlife and fishing and rivers are also feeling the impacts.
"Right now we're seeing a concentration of wildlife down in the valley bottoms and in our communities and our agricultural fields and we're hearing a lot about it, said Vivaca Crowser with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
She says her office has been receiving plenty of calls due to the increase of wildlife in urban areas.
"Animals may be in places you're not used to seeing them. Even animals like snakes. We've had some calls from people seeing rattlesnakes," Crowser said.
While the animals are popping up more often, Crowser says there is a way to make sure they don't stick around.
"In your yards, it may be turning off the irrigation system. Any kind of attractant that you can move inside is a great idea right now. With bears, getting those bird feeders out of their reach, making sure your garbage is contained, pet food is inside," she advised.
Regardless of the effects, we've all got our fingers cross we'll get some rain coming our way soon.
Thursday makes it 37 days since we've seen measurable rain in Missoula, and on Sunday we could officially break the longest recorded dry spell in Missoula.
Meanwhie, the Kalispell area hasn't seen rain since September 6th.