With the hot weather expected to peak today but high heat with dry and windy conditions expected to continue through the week, National Weather Service has a Red Flag Warning for fire conditions for much of north-central and central Montana through Wednesday.
The warning is a downgrade of a fire watch issued Monday by Weather Service for the region, but conditions still are expected to cause high fire dangers.
Weather Service predicted a high in Havre today of 98 degrees, with the predicted high temperatures dropping into the 80s through the rest of the week, with the forecast calling for a high in Havre of 89 degrees Wednesday.
But low humidity and high winds — with gusts up to 30 mph predicted for Havre today and up to 50 mph Wednesday — will produce dangerous fire predictions, Weather Service said in the warning.
The warning comes as the region battled some lightning-caused fires in the last few weeks, including two fires in the Bear Paw Mountains last week and two other fires in southern Blaine County and in the C. M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge early in August that burned hundreds of acres.
Another fire early in August, started by agricultural producers moving farm machinery, burned 80 to 100 acres west of Box Elder.
Last week, the fires burned more than 100 acres of land at a location about 20 miles south of Havre, and a smaller fire burned a few acres several miles farther south.
The weather forecast calls for mostly clear skies through this week, with a slight chance of thunderstorms predicted for Friday night and Saturday.
The forecast for next week for Montana east of the Continental Divide calls for above-normal temperatures — with normal temperatures having highs from 70 to the lower 80s and lows in the lower 30s to the lower 50s — and about normal precipitation.
In the longer range, predictions about the winter are starting to come out.
On the “Old Farmers Almanac” website, the prediction is for temperatures warmer than last year for the 2012-13 winter with less-than-normal snow for the region including north-central Montana.
The long-range forecasts from Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predicts about-normal temperatures and precipitation for this region from November through May.