One of the Worst Fire Seasons in Montana History Revisited
Multiple wildfires are burning in the west. After a slow start, it seems that this year's fire season is officially upon us, but how does this year compare to one of the worst fire seasons in Montana history?
There are currently three active wildfires in Montana. The largest of the fires is the Elmo Fire which started on Friday, July 29. As of Monday morning, the Elmo Fire has grown to 12,975 acres. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Montana received above-average moisture during the spring, leading to historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park. The springtime precipitation also delayed the start of the state's fire season. One of the negative sides of the abundance of rain is that it creates more fuel for wildfires during the summer.
The 2017 fire season is one of the worst in Montana history. In total, 2,500 wildfires burned a whopping 1.3 million acres in Montana. The first fire started on March 17, and the last fire that year started on December 11. In case you're wondering, having wildfires in March and December is extremely rare in Montana.
The two largest wildfires in 2017 were the Rice Ridge Fire, which burned 160,183 acres, and the Lodgepole Complex Fire, which burned a total of 270,743 acres. The latter is the 2nd largest wildfire in Montana history. The largest wildfire in Montana history is the Great Fire of 1910. The fire burned over 3 million acres in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and southeast British Columbia.
The 2022 fire season in Montana has just begun, but let's hope it isn't nearly as bad as 2017's fire season.