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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Much of Montana is still facing elevated fire danger

A new wildfire is burning northwest of Lewistown Montana in the South Moccasin mountains. A large smoke plume from the 1,200 acre fire is visible in the area. Ground and air resources have responded. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Just because it’s October doesn’t mean fire season is over. Elevated fire danger either is, or will soon be, in effect for a wide swath of Montana.

A Red Flag warning is in effect for all of northeast Montana through Tuesday evening.

That means a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and unusually warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

National Weather Service Billings is also warning of elevated fire danger Tuesday afternoon for parts of Glacier, Toole, Pondera and Liberty Counties.

Elevated Fire danger is also likely Tuesday afternoon in southwest Montana, but forecasters say the second half of the week could be marked by much cooler and wetter conditions.

National Weather Service Missoula forecasters say a cold front moving into parts of western Montana by Wednesday could bring a shot of measurable rain and blustery winds.

Even colder and wetter weather is possible by the weekend. That could mean mountain snow down to 4,500 feet in elevation and daytime highs in the 40s and 50s.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at