Montana's lack of snowfall and our dangerously low snowpack levels are becoming the stuff of fire season nightmares. As the winter weeks go by, our 'percentages of normal' keep ticking lower - and that's not good news for this summer.

Hell, it's not good news for this spring. It's already put a major dent in Montana's normally famous ski season. Some ski hills had significant delays in their opening dates, and many are not able to open all of their terrain even now.

According to the Western Fire Chiefs Association (, "The Montana fire season begins in May and runs until October. Peak fire season typically occurs in mid-July and lasts for 12 weeks."

Obviously, Montana's 'fire season' dates change from year to year, but this winter of 2023/2024 is not shaping up in any sort of positive way. Take a look at the current SNOTEL readings as of January 31st, 2024:

SNOWTEL - January 31st, 2024
SNOWTEL - January 31st, 2024

In 2017, about 2,500 wildfires torched 1.3 million acres of Montana land. Though the year was predicted to bring a "below-average fire season," severe flash droughts made for the perfect conditions for wildfire spreading. According to the Montana DNRC's end-of-year fire report, 46% were caused by lightning strikes and 53% by humans.

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In 2012 and 2013, large wildfires of more than 1,000 acres erupted in Montana during the month of January. Although these fires were very unusual, it proves that it CAN happen. In 1995, one wildfire of more than 1,000 acres began in March. You can see a visual guide to Montana wildfire dates below.

Wildland Fire Occurrence Database
Wildland Fire Occurrence Database

The Top 11 Most Valuable Crops Grown In Montana

Montana is one of the most productive states in the country, with a diverse number of products that we export. Most are agricultural, but certainly not all of them. But the crops that are grown in our backyard add up to an amazing amount of money. Here, we'll count down the 11 most valuable crops that are grown in Montana, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

The Final Concerts of Late Pop Icons

Below, here’s what the final concerts were like for six of pop music’s most legendary performers.

Gallery Credit: Taylor Alexis Heady