Northwest Montana is trading in smoke and heat for rain and cold, and the National Weather Service has proclaimed that “fall is here to stay.”
On Friday, the NWS in Missoula forecast a prolonged period of cold and wet weather starting early next week that meteorologist Travis Booth said will make it feel more like November than September. Widespread rain is forecast for western Montana and snow is likely for the mountains.
Although weather officials are hesitant to call next week’s weather a “fire season-ending event,” Booth said it is “certainty a step in the right direction.”
On Friday, it was snowing on Logan Pass, prompting the closure of Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road from Sieyh Bend to Logan Pass. The west side of the road from Apgar to Logan Pass has been closed all month due to the Sprague Fire near Lake McDonald.
As of Friday, more than a dozen wildfires are still smoldering across Northwest Montana. The cooler weather is allowing firefighters to gain the upper hand on many of the blazes, although officials are asking the public to remain vigilant when recreating outdoors.
Two public meetings about the fires are being held on Sept. 15. An informational meeting about the Sprague Fire will be held at the Community Building in West Glacier at 7 p.m. and a meeting about the Caribou Fire near West Kootenai is at the West Kootenai Store at 7 p.m.