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The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Gallatin County until Wednesday evening, advising that fires may ignite quickly and spread rapidly under dry and breezy conditions.

Bob Hoemisch, a meteorologist with the weather service, said there’s some ingredients that make the perfect cocktail to easily start fires in the area, which is common this time of year. He said dry vegetation, low humidity and high winds lasting until Wednesday night make Gallatin County more susceptible to fires.

The weather service said the red flag warning is expected to last until Wednesday at 9 p.m. The weather service extended the red flag warning into most of eastern Montana late Tuesday afternoon. That advisory is in effect until Thursday.

“We are at high fire danger,” Hoemisch said.

Winds were expected to get up to 25 mph on Tuesday and gain momentum into the next day. Hoemisch said winds are expected to be a bit stronger on Wednesday, up to 30 mph, potentially lasting from the afternoon into the evening. The winds may also be more widespread than winds felt on Tuesday.

Thunderstorms were not expected for Tuesday, but Hoemisch said there is a chance of a thunderstorm on Wednesday.

“That on top of the windy and dry conditions kind of combine to make things a little bit more critical in terms of fire weather,” he said.

He said to be mindful of anything that could create a spark like campfires, farming equipment and trucks dragging chains.

“Just be mindful of those activities and be prepared, if you are operating something like that, to be ready to put out a fire while it’s small,” Hoemisch said.

After the red flag warning expires, he said, temperatures are expected to drop going into the weekend, giving the area a bit of a break.

But, Hoemisch said, things look like they will heat back up starting early next week.

“It’s August,” he said. “We’re just getting in that time of year that fire weather conditions become a weather impact.”

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Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.

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