Hot September: Missoula area fire danger back to high

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A NASA GOES 17 satellite image from Monday shows smoke from multiple fires in California, Oregon and Idaho sending smoke toward Missoula. 

Rob Chaney Rob Chaney

A small grass fire spotted on Monday near Evaro typified the kind of September surprise wildfire managers must brace for this week.

Missoula-area fire officials moved the danger level from “moderate” to “high” on Tuesday as weather forecasts warned of high temperatures in the 90s for the next few days, along with breezy afternoons and low humidity.

Missoula County officials canceled recently issued open burning permits as conditions grew risky and the chance of temperature inversions trapping bad valley air increased.

“We are not out of fire season by any means,” said Kristin Mortenson, fire prevention specialist for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in Missoula. “Caution is defiantly urged for all residents. We need to be careful with our sparks.”

A spark from a cigarette or perhaps a faulty brake on a logging truck may have caused the small Labor Day fire near

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