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Rain, maybe even snow, to dampen Montana wildfires

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HELENA, Montana — Cooler temperatures and rain that may upset some Labor Day Weekend recreational activities will be welcome relief for crews battling wildfires in western Montana.

The National Weather Service says up to 2 inches of rain and temperatures in the 50s are forecast in western and north-central Montana, while up to 2 inches of snow could fall in the higher elevations.

Evacuation notices have been lifted in the Essex, Tarkio and Holter Lake areas and some forest lands have been re-opened.

However, fire officials caution that the weekend weather may not be enough to end the fire season.

Northern Rockies Coordination Center meteorologist Mike Richmond says the vegetation on the Rocky Mountain Front and the plains is dead, so it won't absorb much moisture. A couple of windy days could dry things out again.

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