Hundreds of lightning strikes Thursday night ignite fires in Rosebud County
Published 3 months ago by The Billings Gazette

The Cherry Creek fire burning Friday in Rosebud County in rolling, pine-covered hills near a subdivision.

Vehicles from the Rosebud County Sheriff's Office parked near the Cherry Creek fire on Friday in Rosebud County. 

The Cherry Creek fire burning Friday in Rosebud County in rolling, pine-covered hills near a subdivision.

Vehicles from the Rosebud County Sheriff's Office parked near the Cherry Creek fire on Friday in Rosebud County. 

Of the Eastern Montana communities that saw lightning Thursday night from thunderstorms in the region, it was Rosebud County that was dealt the worst hand. 

"It's pretty safe to say that Rosebud County saw anywhere from 600 to 800 lightning strikes yesterday evening," said Shawn Palmquist, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Billings. "So, not to say that other areas didn't see lightning. It was just most intense over Rosebud."

Accompanying the lightning were winds of up to 40 mph, which likely helped fan the numerous fires that took hold overnight amid fire fuels already primed for ignition by prolonged regional drought. 

From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., scattered thunderstorms lingered over Rosebud County, dropping an estimated tenth of an inch or less of rain, Palmquist said. "It's just been so hot and dry, these thunderstorms weren't producing much rainfall," he said. 

In a county roughly 5,000 square miles, resources began to run thin as firefighters scrambled to fires spread t ...

Added: 2 months ago