Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Heat wave to roast northern Rockies as wildfires continue to flare

The next heat wave is kicking into high gear across the country's northern tier, this time focused on the northern Rockies and High Plains, where temperatures will soar into the triple digits during the day. The heat won't relent for a week in some areas.

Why it matters: Extreme heat contributes to the potential for new wildfires to form, as well as extreme wildfire behavior. The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon has shown this repeatedly, and is currently the largest burning wildfire in the U.S., growing to 273,582 acres. It is only 22% contained, per InciWeb.


The big picture: States across the northern Rockies and parts of the Pacific Northwest are set to see a searing heat wave from Saturday through at least Wednesday, with temperatures hitting 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average. This could significantly exacerbate the wildfires that are already ravaging the territory.

  • These same areas that will see the extreme heat starting this weekend — including Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — are affected by wildfire smoke wafting in from fires in California, Oregon and Washington.
  • A heat warning is in effect for northeastern Montana through Thursday evening, foreshadowing "heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities."
  • Highs could reach as high as 106 degrees in northeastern Montana, and lows that are normally in the mid-50s at this time of year, will be as high as 77°F, the National Weather Service warns.
Temperature departures from average forecast for Monday, showing the intense heat from Washington through Montana and into the northern Plains. Credit: Weatherbell.co

Driving the news: In addition to the heat wave in the Rockies and High Plains, there's also the threat of a dry lightning outbreak in northern California between Sunday and Monday as a low pressure system injects moisture into a state where vegetation is at record levels of dryness for this time of year.

  • A fire weather watch has been issued for much of northern California for Sunday and Monday, with thunderstorms threatening to ignite new fires.
  • Last year, a "lightning siege" sparked some of the largest and most destructive fires the state saw during its worst-ever fire season.

Context: The extreme drought and heat waves, which researchers say have been aggravated by human-caused climate change, are the main reason why this year's wildfire season ramped up so early.

Of note: In an example of the extreme wildfire behavior stemming from the dry and hot conditions, the massive Bootleg Fire in southeastern Oregon has repeatedly formed dangerous, towering clouds of ash and water vapor, known as pyro-cumulonimbus clouds.

  • These clouds have sparked their own lightning bolts, which in turn can cause additional wildfires.
Satellite photo of towering clouds forming from the Bootleg Fire in Oregon. Photo: Planet Labs

Go deeper:

Simone Biles will compete in her final Olympic event

Simone Biles will compete in the Olympic individual balance beam final, her last event of the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics announced Monday.

What's happening: "We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!" USA Gymnastics tweeted.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 10 highlights

Day 10 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Puerto Rico bag its first-ever track gold medal when Jasmine Camacho-Quinn beat American world record holder Kendra Harrison to win the women’s 100-meter hurdles Monday.

The big picture: There was better news for Team USA in the basketball, where the women's national team beat France 93-82 — meaning the Americans are entering the medal round undefeated as they go for yet another gold, Axios' Ina Fried reports from Tokyo. France still advanced to the quarterfinals as well.

Keep reading... Show less

Belarus sprinter who sought refuge in Tokyo "safe" with Japanese authorities, IOC says

Belarus' Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who's refusing orders to return home, is in the care of Japanese authorities and the UN refugee agency is now involved in her case, an International Olympic Committee official told reporters Monday.

Driving the news: The sprinter said she wouldn't obey orders and board a flight home after being taken to Tokyo's s Haneda airport by team officials Sunday following her criticism of Belarusian coaches, per Reuters. She spent the night in an airport hotel.

Keep reading... Show less

Olympic sprint champ Jacobs says reconnecting with U.S. father "gave me the desire to win"

Italy's surprise 100-meters Olympic gold medalist Lamont Marcell Jacobs opened up Sunday about how reconnecting with his American father over the past year has helped spur him on.

What he's saying: The Texas-born sprinter told reporters after setting a European record of 9.80 seconds to win gold in Sunday's event that getting back in touch with his father "gave me the desire, the speed, that something more that helped me being here and win the Olympics."

Keep reading... Show less

Bipartisan Senate group releases $1 trillion infrastructure bill

A bipartisan group of senators released full legislative text for their $1 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill late Sunday night, setting it up for debate on the floor this week.

Why it matters: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer kept senators in town for a rare legislative weekend in order to formally begin debate on the 2,702-page bill. Now the Senate can begin a potentially days-long amendment process before a final vote this week.

Read the bill.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

American Raven Saunders protests oppression with "X" sign on Olympic podium

U.S. shot-putter Raven Saunders told AP Sunday she placed her hands above her head in an "X" formation while on the Olympic podium after winning a silver medal to stand up for "oppressed" people.

Why it matters: The International Olympic Committee has banned protests during the Tokyo Games, but Saunders, who is black and openly gay, said she wanted to take a stand.

Keep reading... Show less

High-ranking Democratic lawmaker in New Mexico House resigns amid allegations of fraud

A high-ranking New Mexico Democratic state lawmaker has resigned amid a federal investigation into possible fraud, racketeering, illegal kickbacks and money laundering,

Driving the news: Sheryl Williams Stapleton stepped down Friday as New Mexico's House majority leader, and from her seat, after state and federal authorities served subpoenas on an Albuquerque school district where Stapleton is employed.

Keep reading... Show less

House poses obstacle to passage of infrastructure bill

A 2,700-page bipartisan infrastructure bill was headed to Senate desks Sunday with promises it will pass the chamber by the end of the week. A final version was promised after additional edits.

Why it matters: While that's progress for the president’s most prominent 2021 legislative goal, the House is shaping up as a potential obstacle before money starts flowing to build new roads, bridges and expand broadband access.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories