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Cold, Wet Weather Slowing Montana WildfiresAired September 4, 2000 - 1:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Firefighters out West are working through the Labor Day weekend. In Wyoming, authorities have reopened Devils Tower National Monument after hundreds of tourists had been evacuated because of a nearby wildfire. Firefighters say they have about 80 percent of those fires contained. Lightning set the blaze on Saturday, and it quickly grew to more than 1,500 acres burned.
In Montana, wet weather has been helping firefighters after weeks of hot, dry conditions. Some of the higher elevations have even gotten some snow.
For the latest on this, CNN's Jim Hill checks in from Hamilton, Montana today.
JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Lou. This is day four of this cool, wet weather pattern that settled over southwestern Montana last Friday. During that time, firefighters on two of the major fires in this area have made some good headway. Both the Skalkaho complex of fires and the Blodgett blazes are both 50 percent contained right now.
On the Blodgett fire, they hope for full containment within a week. On the Skalkaho blaze, 50 percent containment is a good figure, because only two days ago it was just 25 percent.
The cool weather, of course, continues to be the big help for firefighters. They are in mop-up operations, also trying to secure and advance those containment lines. Also some rehabilitation work is now being done, some reseeding and some erosion control: very important in this mountainous area where some 300,000 acres have burned during the past month.
Now, it's important to realize there could be a return to hot, dry weather. If that happens, these fuels could lose their moisture. They could become very, very susceptible to flash fires once again, those horrible runs of fire that go right up into the crowns of the trees and cause so much destruction.
But it is hoped now that the cool weather will continue. Every day this continues we go further toward fall, when mother nature takes over. You get routine rainfall, and mother nature would pretty much be out of the fire business for this year, at least that is the hope -- Lou.
WATERS: All right, Jim Hill, in Montana.
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