Where is This Latest Smoke in Montana Coming From?
It's not something we're normally used to seeing in Western Montana in May. But the combination of perfect burning conditions for forest managers and clear, warm weather is creating some haze today.
However, a change in the weather Friday will quickly erase the smoke, and help anyone dealing with air quality issues too.
The arrival of hot, dry weather this week is helping Forest Service crews catch up with their prescribed burning schedules after April's continued cold, wet weather had been delaying operations.
Lolo National Forest has a real busy burn schedule
On the Lolo National Forest, prescribed burns were expected to continue today near Thompson Falls around Clear Creek, on Second Creek near Lozeau, in Mineral County east of Superior, on Flat Creek just north of the Cabin City Campground, and a large one around McCormack Creek. That one is treated over 200 hundred acres up Ninemile. And a couple of different fires are burning near Seeley Lake in eastern Missoula County.
Crews are also burning 20 acres in Pattee Canyon near the Crazy Creek trailhead.
Fires in the Bitterroot too
On the Bitterroot National Forest, burns continue down by Trapper Creek, and up the East Fork today.
So don't be alarmed if you see smoke on the horizon, although we did already have a couple of lightning fires in the Bitterroot, which is really early for that problem to develop.
Most of the burn operations are expected to be over soon because of the "green up", where the vegetation is already starting to grow impacting the effectiveness of the controlled burns.
Montana DEQ reported air quality is good, with the exception of two areas, west of Missoula and in Hamilton, where the air is "moderate".