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The Latest: Small blazes signal start of Montana fire season

July 26, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on Montana wildfires (all times local):

1 p.m.

Several small wildfires in western Montana and a changing weather pattern signal the start of the state’s 2019 fire season.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation say the fire season is starting later this summer compared to recent years due to cooler temperatures and more moisture in July.

John Monzie is deputy chief of the agency’s Fire Bureau. He says warmer weather with stronger winds is drying out trees and grasses, making it harder to quickly contain lightning-caused fires.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai firefighters were conducting a burnout Friday to reduce fuels for a fire that has burned seven-tenths of a square mile (2 square kilometers) of grass and timber southwest of Ronan.

Smaller fires were burning south Bannack State Park and just north of Missoula.

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This story has been changed to correct the metric conversion on the size of the fire

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