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Experts predict busy Montana fire season

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Apr 26 2013 06:50:27 PM MDT
Wildfires ravage remote Montana Indian reservation
MISSOULA, Mont. -

On Friday, NBC Montana sat down with a meteorologist at the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. Bryan Henry tracks lightning strikes around the country, and monitors weather conditions in multiple states, including Montana. He tells NBC Montana there has not been lightning strikes in Montana over the last couple of days, but once thunder storms really start to roll in, they could meet abnormally dry conditions.

Henry says there is currently a spot in Southwest Montana that’s been under a moderate to severe drought, and if there isn’t any relief soon firefighters can be in for a busy season.

Henry says he’s currently forecasting about 250,000 Montana acres burned over the course of 2013, though that may rise.

“Lightning serves as a match,” said Henry.

Henry says roughly half of last year’s large wildfires were caused by lightning.