Heat Wave to Increase Fire Activity - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Heat Wave to Increase Fire Activity

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

U.S. Forest Service meteorologists said this historic heat wave will increase fire activity in several areas of the Northern Rockies region.

Meteorologist Bryan Henry works for the Northern Rockies Coordination Center -- or the NRCC -- which organizes resources for wildfire control.

Henry said the upcoming heat wave is historic because it comes before the end of July, when fire season typically begins.

"A lot of areas across western Montana and northern Idaho are well above normal precipitation over the past month, but it evaporates very quickly, especially when it's 100 degrees outside and the humidities are very low," Henry said.

Henry said thin vegetation like grass can dry out in only about 10 hours in triple digit temperatures.

"The grasses that are out there, we see that they're green right now, are probably going to be very brown by this time next week," Henry said.

The NRCC measures vegetation moisture throughout the region, and Henry said much of the foliage is only about 4% from being dry enough to become a fire hazard.

Henry said, "This heat wave is significant enough and long enough in duration, that it's going to have an impact on all the fuels across the spectrum."

He said thunder and lightning storms often follow heat waves.

These storms are hazardous, because Montana sees storms traveling from the desert southwest.

"So, by the time those storms get here, there's not much moisture underneath them, so we end up just getting dry lightning, or lightning without much precipitation," Henry said.

Henry said this year's fire danger zone encompasses much of southwest Montana near Wisdom, where drought has persisted through the spring.

He added, "Now, initially all the firefighters and the smoke jumpers will be able to jump on these fires and put them out very effectively, before they can get too big."

NRCC officials said last year's heat waves in central and eastern Montana, led to the worst wildfire in Montana history -- the Ash Creek fire that burned roughly 500,000 acres.

"Be very careful this Fourth of July, especially, due to the timing of the heat wave," he advised.

Forest Service officials said most of the Northern Rockies region will see a normal fire season, but next week's heat wave could bring increased fire activity as soon as this weekend.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Official: 5 killed in plane crash north of Denver

    Official: 5 killed in plane crash north of Denver

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:51 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:51:26 GMT
    Authorities say three people were killed and two others were injured when their small plane crashed near an airport north of Denver.
    All five people aboard a small plane that crashed near an airport north of Denver have died, a spokesman for the National Transportation Board said.
  • 5 US airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    5 US airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:41:19 GMT
    The U.S. military says fighter aircraft and unmanned drones have struck Islamic State militants near Iraq's Mosul Dam.
    The U.S. military says fighter aircraft and unmanned drones have struck Islamic State militants near Iraq's Mosul Dam.
  • Revel starts shutdown Monday after just 2 years

    Revel starts shutdown Monday after just 2 years

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:33 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:33:31 GMT
    The most spectacular and costly failure in Atlantic City's 36-year history of casino gambling begins to play out Monday when the $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel empties its hotel.
    The most spectacular and costly failure in Atlantic City's 36-year history of casino gambling begins to play out Monday when the $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel empties its hotel.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • 31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
  • Three Cars Involved In Serious Crash In North Spokane

    Three Cars Involved In Serious Crash In North Spokane

    Friday, December 20 2013 1:54 AM EST2013-12-20 06:54:50 GMT
    Two people were taken to the hospital Thursday night following a serious crash in north Spokane. 
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two people were taken to the hospital Thursday night following a serious crash in north Spokane. It happened at about 8:00pm at Nevada and Cozza just north of Francis. Spokane Police tell KHQ that a red car and a blue car were traveling northbound on Nevada at a high rate of speed when an SUV attempted to turn in front of them. INSIDE>>>|PHOTOS|
  • Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
  • Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:03:46 GMT
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
  • UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:10:54 GMT
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.