“Extremely critical” fire risk moving into central Plains today

September 8, 2022

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Triple-digit temperatures broke records across parts of the Northern Plains on Wednesday.

Forecasters warned that strong winds could stoke uncontrollable wildfires, and said the dangerous conditions would sweep into the central Plains, including South Dakota, by today (Thursday).

Areas of central and eastern South Dakota are under Red Flag Warnings (pink shaded areas) today.

The National Weather Service warned of “extremely critical” fire conditions across 22,600 square miles in northern Montana including the cities of Great Falls and Havre.

Portions of Oregon, Idaho and Washington state also had a high fire risk.

Near-record temperatures, wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and tinder-dry fuels mean fires could spread rapidly.

A fast-moving cold-front was expected to drive down temperatures to well below average by Friday.