Western Montana fire managers leery as September starts hot

Jess Abell

With prolonged and possibly record-breaking heat forecast this week, wildfire managers across western Montana are keeping a close watch for September ignitions.

“At least through the latter part of next week, we’re supposed to have some above-average temperatures, up in the 90s, even upper 90s, and low relative humidity, so we expect fire activity to be pretty active through the end of next week,” Mark Wilson, Bitterroot National Forest Fire, Fuels and Aviation Officer said on Wednesday. “Then they’re talking about a little bit of a cool-down. So it looks like at least here for the next week or so, it’s going be fairly active.

“We’re drying out real rapidly with this weather we’re having,” Wilson added. “So by this weekend, we could be potentially even setting record dryness for this time of year. That’s the kind of conditions we’re going to be approaching this weekend.”

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