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Westerly winds bring smoke to Big Sky



Smoke from regional wildfires settles into Big Sky on Sept. 8. PHOTO BY ME BROWN


BIG SKY – Wildfire smoke has settled into the air around Big Sky from fires to the west in Idaho and Oregon. Windy conditions yesterday across the Northwest created “prime conditions” for wildfire growth, according to meteorologist Matt Ludwig with the National Weather Service in Great Falls.

Ludwig explained that there are a number of fires contributing to the smoke in Big Sky, namely the 122,000-acre Moose Fire near Salmon, Idaho and the 100,000-acre Double Creek Fire in northeastern Oregon. The Moose Fire grew by more than 15,000 acres over the past two days, triggering the evacuation of an area a few miles north of Salmon, according to InciWeb, the national wildfire information service.

“A lot of fires really developed and grew yesterday, which caused them to put a lot of smoke out,” Ludwig said. “Westerly winds transported that [smoke] toward Western Montana.”

Although skies are not expected to clear today, cooler temperatures in the coming days are likely to help push smoke out of the area, Ludwig said.

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