Pyrocumulus Cloud Forms, Dangerous Fire Weather Continues

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Jul 10, 2024

A HEAT ADVISORY has been issued for parts of Montana.

Intense heat, very low humidity and gusty winds created dangerous fire weather conditions and tremendous growth on the Horse Gulch Fire near Helena. A pyrocumulus cloud can form over a wildfire that is creating incredible heat, forcing the air upwards until it develops into a cloud. Sometimes this cloud can grow into a thunderstorm. There certainly was explosive growth on the fire Wednesday. Numerous other smaller fires have developed in the heat. Unfortunately it looks like no breaks are in sight. Thursday will be hot, dry and breezy with highs again near 100. A weak front will drop south on Friday cooling temperatures off by a few degrees but it will still be hot. Highs will be in the 90s. This weekend will have continued heat but isolated thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday could provide some briefly cooler air with rainfall. These thunderstorms will not be dry, but lightning could reach out beyond the areas of rain that could spark new wildfires. Highs will still be in the 90s and low 100s. A few isolated thunderstorms are possible Monday as well along with another minor front that could drop high temperatures into the 80s and low 90s. This heat likely will continue until the final week of July, so this heat wave could last more than 2 weeks. Remember to stay hydrated and find ways to cool off. Check on your neighbors and pets. And please be careful to not start another wildfire.

Be safe,
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist