The National Weather Service reports that over 200 lightning strikes in the western Montana area late Friday resulted in numerous small wildfires being battled over the weekend.

We spoke to Meteorologist Alex Lukenbeal early Sunday morning for details.

“We had an influx of monsoon moisture push across the Great Basin into western Montana the last few days, and with that, we saw quite a bit of thunderstorms,” began Lukenbeal. “Quite a bit of thunderstorms developed, many of which had fairly high bases. So, wetting rains were pretty spotty, and as a result, we saw a pretty substantial number of wildfires start pretty much all across western Montana. Each national forest is reporting quite a bit of new fires out there.”

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Lukenbeal echoed what the Missoula County Fire Protection Association has been telling us since the fire danger in the area has been raised from ‘very high’ to ‘extreme’.

Our news partners at NBC Montana are reporting that the DNRC (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) issued a press release on Saturday about battling several small spot fires in western Montana, with the largest being about 20 acres near Salmon Lake.

Fire officials urge all who are recreating in the forests around western Montana to be extremely cautious with campfires and make sure they are all dead out before leaving your campsite.

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