An AIR QUALITY ALERT continues for most of western and central Montana.
Briefly there was a breath of fresh air for the state. A monsoon disturbance produced locally heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday, and there was clean air for a while. But as this system moved away, it drew in more smoke with west wind. Large fires continue to burn in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California, and these fires are contributing to the smoke here in Montana. Wednesday will be hot with a few isolated thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 90s for most of the state. Air quality will likely remain poor. Thursday will be hot with isolated thunderstorms. Highs will again reach the 90s for most of Montana. Friday a cold front will approach the state, kicking off a few thunderstorms. Highs will start cooling down, only reaching the 70s and 80s in western Montana, still 90s in eastern Montana. This weekend will be windy. This wind will be very problematic when it comes to wildfire danger. Saturday's highs will be in the 80s to around 90. With low humidity and gusty wind, RED FLAG WARNING conditions are likely. On Sunday, a cold front will move into the state. Highs will be in the 70s and 80s with lows in the 40s and 50s. The mountains will have highs in the 50s and 60s. Although temperatures will be cooler, the wind will make for very high fire danger for much of Montana. The recent rain will only provide a brief pause in the fire danger. It will take prolonged cooler temperatures and more steady precipitation to put an end to this dreadful fire season.