Officials Predict Mild Fire Season for Montana

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — Officials are predicting a mild wildlfire season for Montana.

Forecasters and fire officials from eight state and federal agencies gave Gov. Steve Bullock their annual wildfire outlook briefing Monday in Missoula.

Bryan Henry of the Northern Rockies Coordination Center says the snowpack is above average and is melting at a slower-than-average rate. He says that, combined with historical weather patterns, cooler temperatures and more precipitation this spring, will likely make for less frequent and intense fires.

Henry adds chances are good that El Nino will also contribute to a below-average fire season. El Nino happens when cool waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean become unusually warm and affect weather patterns across the globe.

The agencies promised the governor the same support for fighting fires they gave in 2013.

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