HELENA (AP) – Rain and cooler temperatures forecast for later this week may not end Montana’s fire season, but a meteorologist says “it will put a dent in it.”

The dramatic change in weather patterns will bring welcome relief to firefighters, those whose property has been threatened and communities that have dealt with smoke-filled air for nearly two months. Snow may fall at higher elevations and temperatures could fall into the 30s on Thursday night and Friday night.

The National Weather Service is forecasting rain Thursday and Friday, with most areas seeing at least a half inch. Temperatures may not reach into the 50s on Friday in most parts of the state.

Meteorologist Luke Robinson in Missoula said the rain may not end the fire season, “but it will put a dent in it,” and will clear out most of the smoke.

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