Last Night’s Lightning Strikes Could Spark New Fires

Posted at 7:19 AM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 12:07:58-04

Happy August!  July went out with a bang as hundreds and hundreds of lightning strikes moved through Montana with thunderstorms that traversed Big Sky from southwest to northeast. 

Thunderstorms and wildfires continue to go hand in hand as the calendar flips from July to August.  While thunderstorms are possible this time of year, the frequency of thunderstorms is a little higher than normal. 

Storms will continue to dot the landscape through the weekend into next week.  There has been and will be sufficient moisture for these thunderstorms to create rain, but each lightning strike has the potential to spark new wildfires with the nature of how dry fuels are at this time of year.  And as the number of wildfires increase in the West, the amount of smoke emitted will increase which could decrease the air quality. 

However, the air quality has not been nearly as bad as the previous two summers.  Thunderstorm Thursday…as scattered storms will develop through a lot of the state.  Storms will create lightning and erratic wind, heightening the fire danger.  Before storms move through, highs will be well up into the 90s for much of Montana. 

Friday will be another active day with thunderstorms.  A broad wind will increase for much of the state out of the west and southwest, warranting a Red Flag Warning.  The first weekend of August will be hot, breezy, with low humidity and isolated thunderstorms.  More thunderstorms are possible next week as well, and temperatures will ease back into the 80s for highs.

Have a great day.

Curtis Grevenitz