Weekend Valley Haze Due to Distant Wildfires
This weekend's hot summer weather also included a bit of smoky haze over both the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, reminiscent of last year's wildfire season.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Marty Whitmore said on Sunday that the small amount of smoke was actually coming from far away fires.
"That smoke's not really coming from our immediate area," said Whitmore. "We've been in a pretty good southwest flow aloft and I think the majority of that smoke is actually being transported from Northern California from that fire they have going along Interstate 5. It's really been active for the last few afternoons, and you can pretty clearly see it on satellite that that smoke has trekked over our area."
Whitmore said conditions in Missoula are beginning to dry out, but there is little fire danger yet.
"Our fuels are not really there to where fire dangers are that prominent yet," he said. "But, we're in a pattern where we're going to have a very warm week, or even on Monday, where you can call it hot, out fuels are going to transition toward that like we would expect in July, and we'll start dealing with that fire danger as the month progresses, but we're just not there yet."
2017 was a record fire season for Montana with over a million acres of forest land consumed by mostly lightning-caused fires.