Rain and snow affect some fires in the Northwest — but not all

Wildfires are still active in California, Oregon, Washington, and northwest Montana. Red Flag Warning for northern Nevada.

Indigo Fire Oregon

Above: Indigo Fire in southwest Oregon, September 17, 2017. It is being managed by the East Zone of the Chetco Bar Fire. Inciweb.

(Originally published at 1 a.m. MDT September 18, 2017)

The precipitation that hit areas in the northern Rockies last week has slowed or in some cases temporarily halted, perhaps, the spread of some of the wildfires, many of which had been burning for more than a month. Higher elevations in portions of western Montana received snow, a significant amount in a few areas.

Most of Montana and eastern Idaho had over half an inch of precipitation, but extreme northwest Montana, northwest California, northern Idaho, and most of Oregon and Washington received very little.

Estimated precipitation received for the 7-day period ending Sunday Evening, September 17, 2017.

For example, some evacuations are still in effect for the West Fork Fire in northwest Montana north of Libby. But in the photo below firefighters on the Blacktail Fire northeast of Bozeman look like they are on a winter snow adventure.

Blacktail fire snow Montana
Firefighters on the Blacktail Fire, 48 miles northeast of Bozeman. Photo by Jade Martin.

Many of the wildfires in extreme northwest California and the Cascades of Oregon and Washington are still active. The satellite photo of that area is the most recent we could find that was at least partially free of clouds. On Friday smoke plumes were still very visible from hundreds of miles overhead.

satellite photo fires northwest united states
Satellite photo of the northwest United States, September 15, 2017. The red dots represent heat that the satellite was able to detect where the clouds were not too thick. NASA.

Crucifixion Creek Fire, northwest of Great Falls, Montana, September 17, 2017. Inciweb.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for northern Nevada on Monday.

red flag warning
Red Flag Warning in effect for Monday September 18, 2017. NOAA.

wildland fire danger

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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One thought on “Rain and snow affect some fires in the Northwest — but not all”

  1. I appreciate the info. My husband and I were to visit Yosemite 9- 6 2017 😦
    What is the status of Yosemite National Park the week of Sept 18, 2017? Are the fires close to being contained?
    Is there danger of losing the sequoia groves in Yosemite and Sequoia National Park?
    Thanks, Joyce Autrey

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