Montana
Top Climate Change Risks: Drought, Fire, Heat

Learn how climate change is affecting people in Montana.
Then, check your local risk for heat, storm, fire, drought, and flood through 2050.

Typical Risks for Someone in Montana

Compared to people in the United States, people in Montana will experience especially increased risks from drought, fire, and heat due to climate change over the next 30 years.

The ClimateCheck Risk Rating is a 1-100 score that measures historical risk and increased exposure to risk with climate change, compared to everywhere in the U.S. (lower 48 states). A rating of 100 means risk is the highest for the U.S., while 1 means the risk is the lowest of anywhere in the U.S. Even with a risk rating of 1, climate change has both localized and large-scale effects that impact everyone on Earth.
See how we measure risk.

For fire, the bar estimates the middle 50% of buildings and middle 50% of land area. For heat, drought, and storm, the bars represent the middle 50% of the population.

Climate Risks for Cities in Montana

Of the top cities in Montana, the city with the highest overall risk is Billings. The city with the lowest overall risk is Kalispell.

For heat, Missoula has the lowest risk and Bozeman has the highest risk.

For storm, Great Falls has the lowest risk and Bozeman has the highest risk.

For drought, Missoula has the lowest risk and Butte-Silver Bow (balance) has the highest risk.

For fire, Billings has the lowest risk and Butte-Silver Bow (balance) has the highest risk.

For flood, Billings has the lowest risk and Kalispell has the highest risk.

Comparing Montana and Other States

Among the lower 48 states, Montana's highest ranking is #4 for drought risk.
Arizona and Wyoming rank highest for drought risk Mississippi and Illinois rank lowest for drought risk

Montana ranks #6 for fire risk.
Highest fire risk: Utah and Kansas
Lowest fire risk: District Of Columbia and Rhode Island
See our fire ranking methodology.

Montana ranks #42 for heat risk.
Highest heat risk: Florida and Louisiana
Lowest heat risk: Washington and North Dakota


Montana ranks #43 for storm risk.
Highest storm risk: New Hampshire and Vermont
Lowest storm risk: Nevada and New Mexico

Drought Risk in Montana with Climate Change

Drought risk is based on water stress, which is a projection of how much of the water supply will be taken up by human demand.

In the figure, the blue bars represent the available water every 10 years from 2020-2060, and the orange bars represent demand. The drought risk rating is based on the ratio of supply to demand and the projected change in this ratio. Lower supply and higher demand correspond to a higher score.

Fire Risk in Montana with Climate Change

Locally, fire risk depends on proximity to vegetation, the types of vegetation and other landcover in the area, and topography. On a given day, fire risk is greatly increased in the presence of a red flag warning, when heat, low humidity, and strong winds converge.

Heat Risk in Montana with Climate Change

An extremely hot day in Montana depends on your location: 96ºF is extremely hot for Billings, while 87ºF is considered extremely hot for Butte-Silver Bow (balance). This is based on historical maximum temperatures on the top 2% of days in an average year.

The frequency of very hot days is increasing. On average, someone in Montana will experience about 33 extremely hot days in 2050.
A typical person in the U.S. will experience about 43 extremely hot days in 2050.

How Can We Adapt to a Changing Climate?



Mitigating climate change—by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment—and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks


Check your address and get a free report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Your level of risk depends on your city's capacity to adapt. Look up information on your city's characteristics and how they relate to preparedness for climate change: ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment.

Protect Homes and Communities


Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA's Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool Pavements can also help urban heat islands. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives (federal to local), how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance


Change is necessary–and possible–across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with Project Drawdown's introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your home's carbon footprint with the CoolClimate Calculator. Or, estimate the carbon footprint of your business.