A long, warm autumn comes with some risk as well over 1/2 of Montana is under a Fire Weather Watch on Thursday.

The GOOD news is that this dangerous period of time should be short lived with rain, snow and much cooler temperatures covering the entire state of Montana this weekend. Some regions are expecting  significant snowfall in the higher elevations.

According to the National Weather Service:

  • The National Weather Service in Great Falls has issued a Fire Weather Watch, which is in effect from Thursday morning through Thursday evening.
  • AFFECTED AREAS...Central and Eastern Lewis and Clark National Forest Areas. Hill, Blaine, Chouteau and Fergus Counties. Southeast MT and Northwest South Dakota.
  • ADDITIONAL AFFECTED AREAS: Golden Valley...Musselshell...Wheatland. In Northwest SD...Harding. In South Central MT...Big Horn County...Carbon...Park...Stillwater Sweet Grass...Yellowstone. In Southeast MT...Carter...Custer...Fallon...Powder River Rosebud...Treasure. In Southwest MT...Gallatin County.
  • WINDS...West around 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
  • RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 15 percent.
  • IMPACTS...Any new fire starts could be difficult to contain.
  • PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions are possible.
  • A combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures will create high fire growth potential.
  • Outdoor burning is not recommended.

This fire danger should come to a quick close with the cooler, wet weather moving into Montana this weekend. In the meantime, be extremely careful with outdoor fires of any kind and don't ever throw cigarette butts out the window while driving.

After a few weeks of warm and very dry weather, fire conditions have increased dramatically. Some counties in Montana are experiencing daytime temperatures in the 70s this week. Please use caution during this Fire Weather Watch.

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