BILLINGS — Authorities warned of extreme wildfire dangers as a sweltering heat wave was forecast to intensify across much of Montana and northern Wyoming on Tuesday after already delivering record high temperatures.
National Weather Service forecasters said the highs could approach 110 degrees (43 degrees Celsius) in portions of eastern Montana, shattering decades-old records.
The heat wave settled into the region Monday, with a daily record 103 degrees (39 degrees Celsius) seen in Billings. An excessive heat warning was in effect through 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Forecasters advised people to stay out of the sun and not to leave young children and pets in unattended vehicles under any circumstances.
A red flag warning was issued warning of critical fire weather conditions. Strong winds with gusts up to 35 miles per hour were expected. That could stir up wildfires already burning and make it hard to stamp out new blazes.
A wildfire that broke out Monday south of Red Lodge in south-central Montana grew quickly overnight and had burned more than 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) by Tuesday morning, television station KULR-TV reported.
Homeowners in the area were told they could be asked to evacuate if conditions worsened.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.