HELENA — In Montana, the weather can go from wildfires to snow in a single day.
It may feel way too early for fire season, but mother nature has other plans. Wildfires have hit Montana over the last week, and these are not just small blazes either.
A little over a week ago, a very large grassfire charred upwards of 25,000 acres near Browning. Last week and throughout easter weekend, fire crews were kept busy with a slew of other fires.
The Greenough Potomac Volunteer Fire Department mopped up a burn pile that turned into three out-of-control fires.
In Meagher county, city and county fire volunteers had to handle a fire that grew to over 1100 acres on Friday.
Eastern Montana, North and South Dakota have also seen fires pop up in the dry and windy conditions.
Close to Helena, some people near birdseye were evacuated on Easter Sunday as flames came very close to homes. Mutual-aid volunteer firefighters, the DNRC and Forrest Service crews protected all structures.
Part of the reason areas of Montana looked like this on Easter weekend is because March's precipitation didn’t measure up. It was the 10th driest march on record in Montana and the driest since 2004. March is typically one of the wettest months of the year.
A dry early spring, warm temperatures and strong wind are a bad recipe especially when the dead and dried fine fuels have not greened up yet. Even if a red flag warning has not been issued for dangerous fire weather conditions, please use this past couple of weeks as a barometer for the early season fire danger.
Montana already has had over 32,00 acres burn this year.