OK – here is the grim news with no relief in sight. It doesn’t get much starker than this:
Dead fuel moisture levels in North Idaho and Western Montana are below normal for this time of year in several PSAs, and will continue to be very dry through the summer. Fine fuel and live fuel moisture values in these areas are curing out rapidly with hot dry weather and will be at peak summer dryness levels in early July.
North Idaho and Western Montana are four to five weeks earlier than normal fire season development, and ERCs and 1000hr fuel moistures will be extreme by mid-July and continue through September while returning to normal is anticipated by October.
They are actually understating the fuel models – our ERC’s are higher now than they ever get in the “Normal” Fire Season, and they are two to three weeks ahead of the previous Max ERC’s:
So you know why it feels like August out there – because it is. We are going to have at least two months of August, then probably a warm September and a mild winter. While we will still not be as bad off as Oregon and Washington, it will be small consolation because given this forecast we will see a very active and long duration fire season.
We’ll just hope that they are wrong and our fall rains will start on the 4th of July…. That’s my wish!
Keep your fire tools sharp and handy, and watch for smoke.