A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for most of the state for Saturday.  EXTREME fire danger returns over the weekend with stronger wind, a few thunderstorms, low humidity, and just an accumulation of this summer’s dry conditions.  The remnants of what was Hurricane Lidia have dragged up moisture in the form of thunderstorms over southwest Montana this evening.  These storms will fizzle late this evening, but will produce lightning, some downpours, and erratic wind.  Wind is already starting to increase, with significant fire growth on the Alice Creek, Meyers, and Rice Ridge fires.  Saturday’s wind will increase steadily through the afternoon and evening up to 30-35mph out of the southwest.  Scattered thunderstorms will develop, which will have downpours but also lightning.  Erratic wind strength and direction is likely near these storms.  Existing fires will grow, and new fire starts are possible with lightning strikes.  Highs will be in the 80s and 90s, 70s in the mountains.  Strong southwest to west wind will continue Saturday night, so be on high alert through the overnight!  Sunday will be drier and cooler, but west winds will once again push up to 30mph.  Highs will be in the 70s and 80s.  Relative humidity will dip below 20%, which is very dry.  Fire growth will likely head due east.  Monday and Tuesday will be warm, dry, and breezy with continuing issues related to fire and smoke.  GREAT NEWS…a significant wet storm is likely late in the week that will really put a dent into this fire season.  It won’t be enough to end fire season, but this could be the first big storm since Spring.

Be safe this weekend.

Curtis Grevenitz

Chief Meteorologist

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