A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for much of Montana east of the Continental Divide for Thursday.
Wildfires grew in Wednesday's heat and Thursday will be even worse as more wind will hit the state. The Haystack Fire near Elk Park had significant growth of several hundred acres on Wednesday. The Trail Creek, Alder Creek and Christensen Fires in southwest Montana also grew by hundreds if not thousands of acres over the last few days. These fires will continue to grow and emit smoke as weather will be warm, dry and breezy. A broad southwest flow will also transport wildfire smoke from California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Thursday will be another RED FLAG WARNING day with highs in the 80s and 90s, west wind up to 30mph, and a few isolated thunderstorms. But just as the situation looks dire, an area of low pressure will move into the state on Friday with increasing showers and thunderstorms later in the day. The storm will provide much needed precipitation to the state through Friday night into Saturday. Northern Montana should receive higher rainfall amounts. Rain will fall on some of the active fires in southwest Montana but also over Idaho, Oregon and even northern California fires. Showers will continue into Saturday morning, gradually decreasing by the afternoon. Highs will be cooler in the 60s and 70s. The air quality will likely improve as well. Sunday will be partly cloudy with highs in the 70s.