Even though smoke from various fires burning in Western Montana, Idaho and Washington poured into the Missoula valley over the weekend, authorities with the Missoula County Health Department said conditions were not hazardous.
Late Friday, fire officials, along with the Mineral County Sheriff's Department, lifted the mandatory evacuations around Superior where the West Mullan fire has now reached over 5,000 acres, but is now 30% contained.
Strong weather systems from the south will bring thunderstorms with lightning, gusty winds, small hail and heavy, soaking rains. National Weather Service forecaster Corby Dickerson said the weather will be both bad news and good news.
The Western Montana sky exploded with lightning strikes and brief, heavy rains starting at about 6:00 a.m. Monday, as a summer storm swept through the Bitterroot, Missoula, and the Blackfoot areas. The lightning sparked at least two small fires.
19 hotshot firefighters lost their lives on Sunday after being trapped in a raging wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, located northwest of Phoenix. The crew was caught as the fire quickly changed direction and they were forced to deploy their portable fire shelters, but perished in the flames.
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