Will A Montana ‘Heat Dome’ Accelerate Wildfire Season?
We are coming up on some hot temperatures. Triple digit temps are forecasted for this week in western Montana. Meaning it won't take long for what little moisture we have left to dry up and elevate the fire danger. Much of the western US is already experiencing an extreme drought. This drought is causing more and more wildfires. Some of which are burning simultaneously. Which stretches wildland fire fighting resources thinner and thinner.
It looks like a atmospheric phenomena know as a "Heat Dome" may be to blame.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
Summertime means hot weather — sometimes dangerously hot — and extreme heat waves have become more frequent in recent decades. Sometimes, the scorching heat is ensnared in what is called a heat dome. This happens when strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions combine with influences from La Niña, creating vast areas of sweltering heat that gets trapped under the high-pressure "dome."
This heat dome makes it nearly impossible for rain clouds to form. Leading to further drought conditions. Not to mention the intense heat evaporates nearly all the remaining moisture in the soil. Could this mean an accelerated fire season? We will have to wait and see.
Thankfully the forecasted temperatures are not supposed to stretch much further than a couple days. As the high pressure system will move on, taking the heat dome with it. Temperatures are forecasted to drop back into the 90s by the weekend. But, we are not out of the woods yet. As we head into 2 of the hottest months of the year, the hot heat is far from over.