Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cool Weather Calms McClusky Fire

McClusky Fire from Four Corners Trailhead 09/05.
McClusky Fire from Four Corners Trailhead 09/05.

Significantly cooler weather is helping fire crews battling a 2,900 acre wildfire burning east of Butte.

Hot, dry and windy weather spurred the McClusky Fire to nearly triple in size earlier this week. But fire spokesperson Kristin Sleeper describes the McClusky Fire’s growth and behavior over the past 24-hours as minimal

"On Wednesday temperatures at the fire were registering at about 86 degrees. Today, temperatures were in the upper 60s. You’re looking at a 20 to 30 degree temperature swing."

Sleeper says fire managers are bracing for potential scattered thunderstorms Friday evening. Forecasters say those storms could bring very gusty winds with them.

"But we are also hoping that these thunderstorms do bring with them some wetting precipitation and wetting rain. Starting Sunday and going into Monday we are expecting those wetting rains to slow the fire’s progression throughout the weekend and early next week."

The lightning-sparked McClusky Fire, which started on August 16 is zero percent contained, but fire managers say 51 percent of indirect suppression actions are now complete.

Get the latest wildfire, fire management and air quality news for Western Montana and the Northern Rockies, on your radio during our morning and evening newscasts, via podcast, or in your inbox each day.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.