MISSOULA – Strong thunderstorms producing frequent cloud-to-ground lightning rolled through parts of Western Montana late Monday night.
After storms quickly moved through the Missoula area, the East Missoula Fire Department confirmed receiving calls from people reporting three spot fires on the eastern side of Mt. Jumbo in the vicinity where lightning struck during the earlier storm.
The East Missoula Fire Department cannot confirm at this time that the spot fires were lightning-ignited.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) took over the call for the spot fires and were working late into the evening to put the small Mt. Jumbo fires out.
These same areas of the state are under ‘slight dry’ drought conditions as issued by Montana DRNC.
Even as summer storms produce heavy, brief rainfall, the danger for lightning-ignited wildfires is still a hazard.
Similar conditions will develop through the afternoon on Tuesday. This means lightning-ignited wildfires will still be a risk as we head into the afternoon.
Dryer air moves in by midweek, and any rain and moisture will move out which will only increase our fire danger outlook heading into late-week.
-Meteorologist Elizabeth Copeland