Fire season 2021: Early to start, late to finish, and smoky in the middle

The state’s first major winter storm dropped snow on parts of southern Montana early this week, signaling the final act of an active fire season that had prompted Gov. Greg Gianforte to issue a wildfire emergency declaration in July and mobilize hundreds of National Guard troops to assist in suppression efforts. 

Tracking Montana’s 2021 fire season

With an expansive drought drying out vegetation across the state, 2021 was a particularly active year for Montana wildfires. Montana Free Press tracked the season on this page with hourly updates on the location and size of fires reported in Montana, as well as air quality ratings for communities with monitoring stations.

With cold weather bringing the 2021 fire season to a close in mid-October, MTFP has shifted this page to archive status, summarizing the available data on how the state fared over the course of the summer.

The display below includes the last reported updates provided for the 2021 wildfires that were tracked by the Inciweb incident information system and may exclude fires that aren’t reported through that system. In some cases information for specific fires may be incomplete where agencies haven’t updated Inciweb entries. Fire names in the table below link to more information on the Inciweb website.

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