Montana’s Wildfire Season Second Largest So Far This Decade

Data shows more than 522 square miles burned this year across the state

By Associated Press

HELENA) — Montana’s fire season began quietly but quickly grew to the second-largest so far this decade after lightning storms ignited a rash of blazes that spread quickly amid bone-dry conditions.Data from the Northern Rockies Coordination Center show more than 522 square miles have burned this year across the state, about two-thirds of that in national forests.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown says drought combined other factors created a lot of fire potential that turned into reality when the August storms lit numerous blazes within a couple of days.

The biggest fire season this decade was in 2012, when 1,900 square miles burned on federal, state, reservation and private land.

This season is not over yet, though a cold front and rain is expected to move through this week.