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Wildfires Erupt and a Wind Shift Could Be Very Problematic

Posted at 6:55 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 20:58:01-04

HELENA — The Horsefly Fire and Snow Creek Fire erupted on Monday after a weekend of active wildfires. The Horsefly Fire is between Flesher Pass and Lincoln and burned more than 1,500 acres on Monday alone. Evacuations have been ordered for some homes in the immediate area. The Snow Creek Fire located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness also showed explosive growth on Monday, with the smoke plume extending more than 100 miles east of the Rocky Mountain Front. A hot and windy day allowed these fires to develop and spread very quickly, along with the fact that they are burning in heavy beetle killed timber areas. Tuesday will be another warm day but the wind will not be as bad. A few isolated thunderstorms will push across the Hi-Line from Havre to Glasgow through the afternoon and evening. A cold front will drive southward from Canada late in the evening. This front will create a significant wind shift across the state Tuesday evening and overnight. West winds during the day with switch to the northeast overnight, strengthening after midnight. This wind shift will affect all fires burning, and could create even more dangerous conditions near the fires. A northeast wind would push the fires to the southwest. There is potential the wind blows the flames back onto burned areas, helping to put the fire out. That would be the best case scenario. Most likely the wind will create several hours of erratic fire behavior overnight. Wednesday's wind will not be as strong but will come from the east. Later in the week and this weekend thunderstorms are likely to be spread across the state. Along with cooler temperatures, conditions will be better for firefighters working these fires.
Have a good day.
Curtis Grevenitz