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Fires to grow this weekend with dry, windy weather

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RED FLAG WARNING for dangerous fire weather conditions from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night for the following counties:

Lincoln Flathead Lake Sanders Mineral Missoula Ravalli Powell Granite Jefferson Deer Lodge Silver Bow Beaverhead Madison

Saturday afternoon will be very dry with relative humidity in many areas below 15 percent with increasing winds through the night. Winds up to 25 mph are possible Sunday as a cold front moves through the area. Current wildfires will likely experience active growth in the afternoons with large smoke columns while new fires sparked by lightning this week could grow rapidly. Be extremely careful to not cause a spark during this warning and report any new fire starts as soon as possible to local authorities.

In addition to the poor fire conditions, thunderstorms will be possible each afternoon during the weekend. Storms will be fairly isolated on Saturday and will produce very little rainfall during the afternoon. Storms will be more widespread and wetter on Sunday as the front moves in. This is our best chance in a long time for measurable rainfall! Storms will stick around into Monday around Bozeman as areas further west dry out again.

Temperatures will remain in the mid 80s to low 90s through the weekend and will drop to the mid 70s to low 80s for the start of next week.

The windy weather this weekend will help clear out much of the smoke that's settled in the area and send Canadian smoke back to the north. Expect better air quality overall next week as winds stay out of the west instead of the northwest. People living near active fires will still experience bad air quality during the morning hours however.

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