The drought hitting most of the state put the western part of the state on fire watch Friday, then a slow soaker that hit Bowman helped to take the edge off Sunday.
According to Michael Hollan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Bismarck, the weather conditions will be slightly cooler for the rest of the week and will help to lessen the critical fire conditions throughout the state.
“We could see a bit of a change by this weekend and we are seeing chances for precipitation for the southwest corner of the state,” he said Monday. “Otherwise, the rest of this week looks to mainly dry.”
The recent Red Flag warnings last week will probably not be repeating, but there are still critical fire conditions throughout the state. “It is kind of tough to say what will happen beyond this weekend. Even if it (rain) is light and lasts all day it is not going to alleviate the dry conditions very much. It might prevent it from getting worse for a little while, but we need much more rain than what we have seen in order to improve any of the drought conditions.”
“But, it doesn’t take long to dry out. Today (Monday), we are looking at near-critical fire conditions for much of the state even when we had some rain yesterday. It doesn’t take long to go back and forth, but on those days that we do see the rainfall, there is much less concern for fire,” Holland said, noting that there have been several fires this season. Normally, the wildfire season goes through May, but the drought conditions have changed that.
“With how dry it has been, there are still some (fire) concerns. We will see atmospheric moisture start to increase as he head into the summer. Hopefully, it won’t be quite as bad a situation as we have right now... but we still definitely have fire weather concerns.”
He said that in the near future, the southwestern region of the state would have near to slightly below normal temperatures for the rest of the week.
The fire conditions were so bad that the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most of the western part of the state Friday.
In addition, the State Water Commission has announced that the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program has expanded to cover more counties.
There is approximately $2.1 million available in funding for the program, with more than $1 million already being approved to benefit more than 200 ranchers.