Winter Wildfire Potential

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 20:41:13-05

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH has been issued for most of central Montana for high fire danger with gusty wind, low humidity and dry grassy fuels.
A HIGH WIND WARNING has been issued for parts of central and north-central Montana.
A HIGH WIND WATCH has been issued for central and southern Lewis & Clark, Jefferson and Meagher Counties.

Unusual winter weather includes the possibility of grassfire potential. The combination of strong wind, low humidity, record warmth, dry fine fuels and a lack of snowcover will create the possibility of human-caused grassfires. This is not a good time to conduct a debris burn as it could get out of control quickly. The strongest wind will coincide with the greatest fire threat and that will be on Saturday. Friday will be a windy day, just not as windy as Saturday. There will be some mixed rain and snow in the mountains, with a few rain showers in the lower elevations. Temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s for highs, unusual for the last day of January. Saturday will be wild and windy. Record highs are possible with temperatures reaching the 50s and 60s in the lower elevations. While it will be warm, it may be hard to enjoy the warm as the wind will be ferocious. Just about everywhere in the state will have a windy day, but the Rocky Mountain Front will take the cake with wind gusts up near 100mph. Please use caution if traveling, pulling a trailer will be extremely difficult and dangerous. Power outages are possible. Objects blown in the wind will become projectiles. And of course there is the grassfire danger. A sharp cold front will push through the state on Saturday evening and overnight with falling temperatures and a mix of rain and snow changing to snow. The mountains could get a few inches by Sunday morning. Sunday will be colder but not bitterly cold. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s with areas of snow in the southern half of Montana, especially along and south of I-90. The wind will ease up by Sunday morning. Some scattered snow showers will continue into Monday with cooler weather, highs will be in the 20s and 30s. This front should not be a big snowmaker with the exception being the south-central mountain areas.
Have a great day.
Curtis Grevenitz