SPOKANE, Wash. – Summer and fire season usually go hand in hand. Normally by late July, the Inland Northwest has had a few thunderstorms that bring rain…and lightning that sparks new fires.
In fact, normally the lightning sparks more fires than the rain can put out, and that is often how the INW gets our fire season.
However, this year that has not been the case. In fact, the city of Spokane had no measurable rainfall for the past 30 days.
Western Montana, on the other hand, has had a busy fire season compared to the rest of the Northwest.
That is because of a “monsoonal monster flow” in the Southwest. It happens every year and sends the rain/thunderstorm activity north. However this year, that flow has been skirting along the edges of the Inland Northwest and mostly off to the east, creating a very busy fire season for Montana.
If storms hit areas burned recently by wildfires, debris flows are possible, along with the risk of flash flooding, even if there is not a whole lot of rain with incoming storms.
Worth noting that the National Park Service reports most of the wild land fires in the U.S. are caused by humans, as much as 90 percent. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning, or lava in places that see active volcanic activty.