MISSOULA – Northwest Montana is still at greater risk of a more severe fire season than other parts of the state because of drought, according to the latest Wildland Fire Potential Outlook report.
The National Interagency Fire Center says that with El Nino conditions forecasted to persist through the summer months, Western Montana is expected to be warmer and wetter than average for the months of June, July, and August.
As is the case all years, if dry thunderstorms become more prevalent, the odds of lightning-caused fires blowing up increase- a chance that’s even more prevalent in Northwest Montana.
“The driest areas are in northwest Montana, and we do see some enhanced potential there over the Kootenai and Flathead National Forest,” explained Northern Rockies Coordination Center Predictive Services Meteorologist Michael Redmond.
“We do expect the fire potential to be above normal there, but the rest of western Montana, we are still thinking it will still be the average type potential for July and August,” he added.
Northwest Montana has seen below average precipitation since last summer.
-Meteorologist Russ Thomas