While the fire danger remains “high,” local fire officials said the component used to measure fuel moisture turned slightly in their favor over the weekend, though it’s not likely to last.
Lightning is the coming forecast.
“One of the things that’s surprising is the (energy release component) kind of plateaued over the weekend and heading into this week,” said Adrian Beck, director of Disaster and Emergency Services for Missoula County. “That’s largely due to a lot of the humidity that’s been making the air feel so muggy. It’s helping those fuels recover each night with the increased dew and moisture in the air.”
Forecasters are calling for a 20% chance of thunderstorms on Thursday evening, though temperatures will remain cool into the weekend.
Aside from a few lightning caused fires, which initial attack has been able to douse, the season has been relatively quiet.
“We still have the rest of the month to go,” said Beck. “Right now we’re still sitting at ‘high’ fire danger, which equates to about the 80th percentile. We don’t tip into ‘very high’ fire danger until we bump into that 90th percentile, meaning the fuels are in that 90th percentile of dryness.”
The Magpie Rock fire burning on the Flathead Reservation is listed at 60% contained.
“We do have some lightning in the forecast, but so far crews have been able to hit the fires with initial attack,” Beck said.