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Crews watch for new fire starts as heat returns

HELENA (AP) — Beleaguered fire crews in southeastern Montana are keeping a wary eye out for new blazes after lightning strikes were spotted in the area.

Smoldering embers from the strikes could be fanned by temperatures expected to rise Tuesday into the triple digits and 20 mph wind gusts.

Fire managers on the five-blaze Southeastern Montana Wildfire Complex report that Monday's lightning sparked at least one fire about 18 miles away from Fort Howes. Firefighters were able to quickly contain the blaze.

The Ash Creek Fire, the largest in the state at more than 389 square miles, was 95 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

In southwestern Montana, a fire burning in the Bitterroot National Forest grew from 90 acres to 1 ½ square miles and was uncontained as of Tuesday morning.


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