Two wildfires continue to burn in Montana. The Reynolds Lake Fire south of the Bitterroot Valley is easily the largest and has burned over 1000 acres. The good news is this fire showed little activity or growth on Thursday. The Zulu Fire near Yaak in northwest Montana is much small at only 20 acres and a Type III team is working that fire. Thursday’s light wind limited both of the fires’ potential growth. Friday will be a different story with a FIRE WEATHER WATCH issued for areas off the Rocky Mountain Front. A cold front will approach the state late on Friday, causing the wind to increase out of the southwest up to 20mph. Lower humidity and hotter temperatures in the 80s and 90s will elevate the fire danger. The Reynolds Lake and Zulu Fires could grow in these conditions, and a smoke plume from the Reynolds Lake Fire could become more visible by Friday afternoon and evening. Saturday, the cold front will move through the state with west winds up to 20mph. Highs will be in the 80s and 90s. The front will mainly be dry, however from Bozeman to Billings up to Lewistown will have scattered thunderstorms. Fire danger will remain high through the state on Saturday, but ease up somewhat for Sunday. High pressure will move down from Canada with cooler temperatures in the 70s and low 80s and a breeze out of the north up to 15mph. Cooler highs in the 70s and 80s will continue into the start of the work week. Lows dropping into the 40s at night will allow for a decent recovery in relative humidity which should help slow fire growth and danger. Late next week, isolated thunderstorms will need to be watched for the potential of new wildfire starts.
Have a great day.