Summer and the fire season arrived a month early. There was hope that the coming winter might bring lots of snowpack to keep this dry spring and summer from happening two years in a row. Unfortunately, the exact opposite may be true.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Missoula said long range forecasts are saying the area will experience another El Nino winter.

"Most of our long-range predictions are based upon slow moving things like sea surface temperatures that do tend to impact the storm track," Whitmore said. "Right now for the winter forecast with a fairly strong El Nino expected to be in place, that's a dry winter for us. Overall, for the Pacific Northwest, it's going to be warmer than usual, as well."

Whitmore said snowpack in the area could suffer for another season..

"I think everybody would like to see a good strong snowpack in the mountains, at least, and it's kind of a double-whammy for folks who like to do stuff on the water this summer, and if they like to ski in the winter it could be tough on that, as well. This isn't a done deal, of course, but El Nino just sets the scene for a drier than normal winter,"

Whitmore looked into his crystal ball and predicted dry, warm conditions for several months to come.

"It's still showing that signal right through April, so El Nino is probably going to stay strong right into next summer," he said.

Public Relations Director for Montana DNRC Jordan Koppen reacted to the weather news by saying the fire managers will try to be prepared for whatever comes their way.