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Bad Smoke, More Heat & Screaming Fire Danger

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 16, 2023

A HEAT ADVISORY has been issued for parts of central and northern Montana for Thursday.
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH has been issued for Thursday.
An AIR QUALITY ALERT is in effect for the Flathead Valley and West Glacier Region.

These next few days could be the worst of the wildfire danger and smoke this summer but relief is on the way this weekend. Montana is in the midst of a heat wave with record high temperatures and very high fire danger. More record highs will be broken and wildfire activity will increase. Air quality will decrease as more smoke is created. Several of the old fires across western Montana have come back to life and the smoke plumes are large. The smoke on Wednesday came from fires in Montana, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia. Most of the smoke was in the upper levels of the atmosphere but more smoke will settle closer to the ground which will decrease the air quality over the next few days. Intense heat will spread back across the state on Thursday with highs in the 90s and low 100s. Stronger west and southwest wind will create dangerous fire weather conditions. Expect smoky skies. Friday will still be hot with highs in the 90s to around 100 but things will begin to change. Isolated thunderstorms along with partly cloudy skies will start to cool things off a little. VERY strong wind will develop which will likely create explosive conditions on the fires resulting in a lot of smoke. Friday will be a dangerous, dangerous day. Saturday will be partly cloudy with scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms, highs will be back down in the 70s and 80s. Sunday and Monday will be mostly cloudy with areas of rain and thunderstorms. Highs will be more in the 60s and 70s. Rain will fall on the fires and it will clean up the air. These next couple days will be critical before relief arrives this weekend.

Stay cool,
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist