Montana fire season forecast to be big, despite snowy winter

HELENA (AP) — Montana is still recovering from floods caused by one of the snowiest winters on record, yet the state is still expected to have an above average wildfire season.

State officials and the National Guard are holding a briefing Thursday to assess Montana’s readiness after last year’s fires exhausted the state’s firefighting cash reserves.

Just 10 percent of Montana’s land is considered abnormally dry as of this week, but those conditions are expected to change by next month as the warm temperatures quickly melt the deep mountain snowpack.

The National Interagency Fire Center says May temperatures were 5 degrees above average and forecasts that the threat for significant wildland fires will be above normal in northern and western Montana in July.

By August and September, that threat will extend to south central Montana.