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posted: 7/5/2012 1:52 PM

Predicted rain could douse some wildfires in West

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  • Air crews continue to battle a wildfire near Alpine, Utah, Wednesday. The fire has charred 2,887 acres since it started Tuesday afternoon. About 500 homes will remain evacuated for at least two days.

      Air crews continue to battle a wildfire near Alpine, Utah, Wednesday. The fire has charred 2,887 acres since it started Tuesday afternoon. About 500 homes will remain evacuated for at least two days.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The real possibility of significant rain -- finally -- could give a much-needed break to firefighters battling enormous wildfires up and down the Rocky Mountains.

Forecasters in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana say there's a chance for strong thunderstorms across the region Thursday and in the days ahead.

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Heavy rain could make a big difference against wildfires, including one that has burned nearly 400 square miles of ranchland in southeast Montana.

Firefighters also are optimistic about rainfall stifling a fire that forced the evacuation of dozens of forest cabins in southeast Wyoming, and a fire perilously close to the town of Newcastle in northeast Wyoming.

Thunderstorms aren't always good news for firefighters in the West. They worry that gusty winds and lightning could make their job more difficult.

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