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Southwest Montana deals with a smoky late summer

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By Hayden Zelson Explore Big Sky Editorial Assistant

On some afternoons this August, mushroom clouds of smoke have dominated the skylines around southwest Montana. With late summer’s hot, dry weather and little precipitation, new wildfires have sparked up every week around the region, including near Livingston, Ennis and in Yellowstone National Park.

As of Aug. 22 in the morning, wildland firefighters were battling fires on the more than 65,000 acres burning in western Montana and eastern Idaho, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The four fires in the Miner Complex, east of Big Sky, were burning 11,333 acres in the Gallatin Range. The Eureka Fire, southwest of Ennis, was burning 6,600 acres.

But there may be hope as far as Mother Nature is concerned, with rain forecast later in the month.

Al Nash, Chief of Public Affairs at Yellowstone National Park isn’t so sure.

“It’s impossible to know how the weather situation will be in two days let alone two weeks,” he said. “For the most part, [fires] are not caused by humans, and I can’t tell you when and where lightening will strike.”

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