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Fire concerns to rise later this week

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Thick smoke will continue to plague the northern Rockies with no end in sight. An AIR QUALITY ALERT remains posted for Missoula, Ravalli and Granite Counties. Smoke will generaly drift around close to fires in the early morning and then expand across valleys in these areas from mid-morning on. Smoke lifts out of the valleys by the later afternoon.

Temperatures will reach the upper 80s to low 90s in many areas with low to mid 80s at high elevations in the afternoon. Fires will be a bit more active in the afternoon than the previous couple of days.

A strong cold front will arrive Wednesday night and Thursday. There is a lot of concern about this because winds will increase and possibly gust up to 40 mph. A few wet and dry showers and thunderstorms are possible, with lightning a major concern and winds from outflow of the storms may gust to 50 mph. New fire starts are possible considering how dry the region continues to be. Wet storms will have minimal impact on this dryness. Smoke will degrade air quality over larger areas as fires increase in intensity.

Cooler Thursday and Friday with highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s.

Hot and dry weather returns this weekend with sunshine and highs warming back to the 80s and lower 90s. This should continue next week.

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