MTPR

drought

Drought Is Montana's Top Weather Event For 2017

Jan 4, 2018

The National Weather Service in Billings has selected drought and the resulting wildfire activity as the top weather event for 2017. It probably comes as no surprise to residents east of the Continental Divide.

NWS Meteorologist Tom Frieders said parts of Montana are still experiencing drought. He said at this time last year most of the state was in pretty good shape.

Today the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the eastern and north-central part of the state.
Josh Burnham

When you think of winter in Montana, you think lots of snow, not wildfires. But today the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the eastern part of the state. 

Smoke from the Highway 200 Complex, September 4, 2017.
Inciweb

Governor Steve Bullock issued a statement on the fires to the media Monday.

"We are facing a very challenging and unprecedented fire season in Montana and throughout the West."

Yellowstone bison.
Yellowstone National Park - Flickr (PD)

More than half of Montana is currently in the grips of a severe drought, according to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday. And, as pastures shrivel up in the heat, ranchers are trucking in bales of hay and selling their cattle early.

But there’s another big, horned animal out there on the range. Bison.

This is the worst fire season Montana has seen in years. The state is spending about $1.5 million dollars a day battling the blazes and meteorologists say they’re being fueled by something called a flash drought. 

Pages