Heat, Wind, Lightning: Friday Fire Danger High For Western Montana
Very dry conditions, gusty winds up to 40 MPH, and the chance of lightning storms have created dangerous fire conditions across all of western Montana on Friday. Any wildfires that start today will be difficult to contain, so Red Flag Warnings have been issued across the western counties.
The National Weather Service in Great Falls has issued a Red Flag Warning for hot temperatures, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and low relative humidity, which is in effect from 10 AM Friday morning to 9 PM Friday evening. (All of western Montana has has some sort of Fire Weather Warning or Red Flag Warning in effect Friday.)
- AFFECTED AREA...Lincoln Ranger District of the Helena National Forest and Helena and Townsend Ranger Districts of the Helena National Forest, Deerlodge/West Beaverhead, Hill and Blaine Counties, Lewis and Clark National Forest Rocky Mountain District-Rocky Mountain Front, Chouteau and Fergus Counties and Central and Eastern Lewis and Clark National Forest Areas.
- TEMPERATURES...In the mid 90s.
- WINDS...West 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph.
- RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 15 percent.
- IMPACTS...Any new fire starts could be difficult to contain.
- There is the potential for thunderstorms late this afternoon and early this evening.
- Some of these storms will produce strong wind gusts and lightning with little rainfall.
- A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly.
- A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
The good news - there's a decent possibility of significant rain showers this weekend for these same areas. In addition, daily high temperatures are expected to drop quite a bit. That should lower the fire danger across western Montana temporarily.