Officials with the Missoula County Fire Protection Association have increased the fire danger level in the area back to "high."

Association Secretary Chris Johnson said the wet weather of a few weeks ago has given way to very dry conditions, prompting the change.

"Our emphasis is the dryness of the fuel out there and the three to four day outlook that we're looking at for fire danger means we had to move it back up from "moderate" to "high," Johnson said.

Johnson also said the recent clear skies have been invaded by smoke from fires to the west that have never been controlled.

"Fires from the Clearwater - Nez Perce National Forest, from the Kootenai, we just had so many this August that never saw a human being until maybe two weeks after they had been burning," he said. "Many of those fires never had any established perimeters. The September weather knocked them down a little bit, but a lot of those fires remain free-burning. Now, with the warmer weather and higher temperatures, that's where the majority of the smoke is coming from."

Johnson estimates the fire danger level will Remain "high" until at least the first part of next week.