Air quality is rated as “moderate” in much of central and eastern Montana today. Smoke from wildfires burning in western Montana, Idaho and California has been hanging over the region this week, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire and Smoke map. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality advises unusually sensitive people to consider limiting prolonged outdoor activity when air quality is rated “moderate.”
Air Quality is listed as “Moderate” and “Good” across western Montana this afternoon. That’s according to the Department of Environmental Quality. Smoke continues to blow into the state from massive wildfires burning in California. Fires burning in Idaho and Montana are also adding to the haze, according to modeling on the AIRPACT Map from Washington State University.
Various fire restrictions blanket at least half of Montana as a heat wave tightens its grip across the northern Rockies. Hot temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds have prompted Red Flag Warnings for portions of Central and North Central Montana through Monday evening. That means critical fire weather conditions are, or will soon, occur.
The Bear Creek Fire near Lemhi, ID burned actively overnight, growing to an estimated 4,200 acres.
Three large air tankers dropped retardant along the southern portion of the fire line this morning in preparation of a burnout operation scheduled for tonight. An update to Inciweb says the retardant drop is meant to increase the longevity of the fire line and helps ground crews hold the line in lighter fuels.
The Bear Creek Fire near Lemhi, ID was mapped last night, doubling the size estimate to nearly 4,000 acres and zero percent contained. The fire is sending smoke across southwest and central Montana. Officials expect extreme fire behavior to continue today.
Bureau of Land Management lands southeast of Salmon along the Montana state line are closed, as is a section of the Continental Divide Trail.
Montana Fire Managers Say They're Ready For Season Complicated By COVID-19
Wildland fire managers told Governor Steve Bullock June 16 in a 2020 fire season briefing they’re ready for what could become an above average fire year made even more complicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.