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Land managers across western Montana raised their fire danger ratings to “Extreme” Tuesday, as hot dry weather patterns entrenched over the border with Idaho. Fire agencies in Missoula, Mineral and Ravalli counties have already confronted 227 wildfires this summer three-quarters of which were human-caused and at least 45 have started in the past week. A high pressure ridge has been building over the state and will continue through the coming weekend keeping temperatures high and holding smoke in the valleys and thunderstorms in southwest Montana will increase the risk of lightning-caused wildfires there.

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