2015 Montana Fire Season on Pace to Be Worst Ever
Western Montana is on pace to make history this year, with what could be the driest summer in a century and according to Montana State Forester Bob Harrington, this hot, dry summer could lead to a record fire season as well.
"Whether it's record breaking or not, we've had some pretty challenging fire years in the past... 2000, 2003, and 2007 on the west side of the continental divide," Harrington said. "Those three years are what this one is starting to look like. So, whether it exceeds some of those years or not, I think it's going to be in the same ballpark."
Harrington says that eastern Montana is expected to get some moisture and likely won’t have as intense a fire season as country west of the continental divide. On the other hand, Western Montana, and Flathead County in particular are expected to have fire trouble.
"In Western Montana, what I remember in 2007 is that right after the 4th of July we had a week of 100 plus temperatures and within a week or two we had started that record setting fire season that was primarily Western Montana," Harrington said. "Certainly, it's going to be a challenging year unless something unpredicted happens."
The 100 plus temperatures will be hitting before July 4 this year. National Weather Service meteorologist Genki Kino says that right now the Missoula area is experiencing a dry spell that is worse than anything going back to 1910 and could even break that record this week.