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Wildfire Conditions Become More Severe As Drought Deepens

Three U.S. Forest Service trucks are parked in a grassy opening. In the background, smoke can be seen rising from tree-covered hills.
U.S. Forest Service
The Wheeler Mountain Fire near Bozeman, Montana was one of the hundreds of wildfires that broke out across the West in recent days.

News Brief

At least 100 new wildfires broke out across the West Thursday as the region’s severe drought continues to deepen.

Montana, for example, only received about 25% of its normal precipitation in June and one national forest there recently had more than 800 lightning strikes in a single day.

Crews are trying to contain nearly 50 large wildfires across the West right now and some areas in northwest Nevada and southern Idaho are breaking records for how quickly they are drying out.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Nevada Public Radio and KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.