The Latest: Crews fight fire near Montana highway

Smokes hangs over the trees near Bluewood Ski Resort in Dayton, Wash., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Firefighters across the West saw little relief over the weekend as wildfires raged in the drought-stricken region, but for those in Washington, other states will soon provide additional resources. (Michael Lopez/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin via AP) 

The Associated Press

HELENA (AP) — An inversion holding heavy smoke over western Montana is robbing wildfires of oxygen and preventing the sun from heating up ground fuels, helping firefighters make progress on fire lines.

Fire information officer Bob MacGregor says the days of lesser activity also get them closer to anticipated fire season-ending weather.

Residents near Essex remain under an evacuation advisory as a fire that has burned nearly 1 square mile remains about a mile away from the town on the southern edge of Glacier National Park.

Crews planned to do burnout work Tuesday on fires in northwestern Montana and northern Idaho. MacGregor says firefighters won't have to worry as much about the fires taking off because of the smoke.

However, the smoke has led to very unhealthy air quality in St. Mary and the Flathead Valley along with Frenchtown, Missoula and Hamilton. The air quality in Libby is hazardous.

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