Conditions around Montana are changing quickly and we're under a Red Flag Warning for Friday. Wildfires are now a serious concern and precautions should be taken.

According to the National Weather Service:

RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 9 PM
THIS EVENING FOR LOW HUMIDITY AND GUSTY WINDS FOR FIRE WEATHER
ZONES 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, AND 118. (See fire weather zone map below.)

  • AFFECTED AREA: at least 12 counties in Montana
  • TIMING...Gusty west winds and low relative humidity Friday afternoon and evening.
  • WINDS...West 20 to 30 mph, with gusts around 40 mph.
  • RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 12 percent.
  • IMPACTS...The combination of gusty winds and low humidity could create difficult conditions to contain any new fire starts.
  • 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.

There is already an active fire burning near Twin Bridges, named the Old Baldy Fire in the Tobacco Root Mountains.

There is another active fire in Montana named the Pumpkin Fire. The fire was reported about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 6, 2020. The Pumpkin Fire is located 15 miles south of Miles City, Montana, south of the intersection of Montana Highway 59 and the Tongue River Road. Evacuations are in effect, 50 structures including 16 primary residences threatened. Currently, this fire is approximately 2,500 acres. More details to come.

There are excellent state resources available regarding air quality from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality HERE. Residents near active fires and under plumes aloft need to remain aware of current conditions and smoke levels.