MTPR

Montana Wildfire News

Credit (PD)

Active Montana wildfires: Inciweb Montana (click here and zoom in to find fires specific to Montana)

Restrictions, closures, emergency services and more: Fire Season Information.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Daily Wildfire Air Quality Reports

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Wildfire Smoke Updates

A helicopter flies near the Shellrock Fire NE of Helena Montana, August 15, 2018.
Inciweb


A new study says that less summer precipitation, and longer summer dry spells, are major drivers of increased wildfire activity in the western U.S. It’s contrary to previous understanding that warming temperatures and earlier snowmelt are the only factors in bigger wildfire seasons.

The Wigwam Fire burning near Ennis on Aug. 15.
Inciweb

Rain in western Montana Monday did little to slow fire growth across the state.

"Well it’s a mixed blessing," said Jay Nichols, a spokesperson assigned to the Monument and Wigwam Fires burning south of Ennis. "So obviously wind isn’t a good thing, rain’s a good thing, but I don’t know that it will be a substantial amount of rain."

Air Quality Update For Western Montana, August 20, 2018

Aug 20, 2018
Satellite photo show clouds and smoke over the northwest, August 20, 2018.
CIRA and NOAA

Yes, the air is bad. No, the smoke is not the entire reason it is so very dreary out there. We are dealing with a combination of cloud cover and smoke cover, which means the sky is gray and the light we can see is filtered through the smoke and is therefore extra weak. Smoke is basically the sun’s kryptonite.  I could get into a whole narrative about how the smoke is the product of the sun’s unrelenting heat on the landscape and it has risen (literally) from the ashes to challenge its creator, but really. That would be silly.

The Scotty Brown Fire, seen on August 11, 2015.
Inciweb

July of 2015 was the warmest month on record in the history of our planet, 2015 is on trend to be our warmest recorded year, and in much of the American west that warmth has been coupled with moderate to extreme drought conditions. With emissions of greenhouse gases showing no sign of decreasing, these records will probably not last long. For Montana, it means that our overall climate is likely to get warmer and drier. As that happens, wildfires are likely to grow in both frequency and scale.

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