What a contrast from last summer to this summer as far as wildfires, temperature and smoky skies. Last year at the end of July, drought and extreme heat contributed to a record wildfire season that was very active. This year, Montana has been very fortunate with the wet spring, a cooler July and far fewer fires. Many, many smaller fires have been suppressed by firefighters, and there are a couple of fires that have burned more than 1,000 acres. But the wildfire count is way down, and the air quality has been much better. Over the next few days, a northwest flow will bring cooler temperatures, scattered thunderstorms but more smoke. Wildfires burning in Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Yukon in Canada are producing higher concentrations of smoke that will likely move into Big Sky Country. The smoke may not be visible the next few days though as thunderstorms move through acting like a filter. By Saturday, the storms will start moving out and the smoke may become more visible. Highs for the next several days into the weekend will be in the 70s and 80s. Higher relative humidity will help take the edge off the fire danger along with thunderstorms that produce heavy downpours. These storms will not be dry, but they will kick off lightning strikes. New wildfire starts are likely, so let’s just hope firefighters are can respond to and suppress the fires quickly. More dangerous fire weather conditions will move through the state for the final 2 days of July with highs in the 90s, wind up to 20mph, lower humidity and a few thunderstorms. While this season has been fairly quiet thus far, there still are a few months of fire season left.
Have a great day!