The Good News is that Montana is now not forecasted for an “Above Normal” September as it has been in the past two Outlooks.
The “Not as Good” News is that things are critically dry across the State. Energy Release Components, an indication of the volatility of the fuels, are in the 95th to 97th percentile, which is pretty much pegging the meter.
For the most part, we have avoided the large fires associated with these seasonally dry fuel conditions. I think the lack of numerous starts from dry lightning storms factors into the equation. And, as we move into September, the potential for dry thunderstorms drops off.
However, there are numerous other ways fires can start – most of them human. Three fires started earlier this week along Highway 200 outside of Plains/Paradise where a flat tire on a trailer sparked fires with the wheel contacting the pavement throwing sparks. Unattended campfires are always a concern – even transitioning out of the summer camping season into the fall hunting season with hunter fires.
So, continue to be careful out there. If we get some of the forecasted moisture alluded to in the narrative, we’ll get out of this fire season relatively intact. More time to work on fuels projects for next fire season! Only You….