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Fires will flare up Friday under high winds

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RED FLAG WARNING until 9 p.m. for the Lewis and Clark National Forests. West winds 10 to 20 mph and humidity levels from 10% to 15% are expected late Thursday.

RED FLAG WARNING from noon Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday for gusty winds. This warning encompasses most of our viewing area except near Yellowstone and Monida Pass. A dry cold front will sweep across the area and bring wind gust of up to 30 mph in the afternoon and into the night across western Montana. It will begin as a dry wind out of the west to southwest which will put communities threatened by the Lolo Peak and Sunrise fires in even more danger. All fires in the region will experience more activity on Friday afternoon and well into Friday night. Areas east of these large fires should expect lots of smoke overhead as we enter the weekend.

Daytime highs will remain in the 80s, near 90, Friday. Air quality will be variable as smoke rises in the afternoon and sinks overnight and into the early morning.

Expect placid but dry conditions this weekend with lows in the upper 40s and low 50s and highs in the low to mid 80s. Fires will remain active during the afternoon hours.

Rainfall is a forlorn hope until Wednesday when southwest Montana could see some thunderstorms. Moisture is possible as far north as Missoula based on current information. Temperatures will warm up again next week into the upper 80s and low 90s.

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