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Fox News Weather Center

Heat to Ease in West, Help Wildfire Fighting Efforts

After a week of relentless heat across the West, a much-needed cooldown is on the horizon.

A trough of low pressure is expected to dive into the western half of the United States next week sending a much-cooler air mass into the region, one that will drop high temperatures 5 F to 15 F in most places when compared to this past week.

While temperatures will end the weekend on a warm note, the majority of the West will experience some form of cooldown by the middle of next week.

"Cooler weather will spread south across the West Sunday through Tuesday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg.

Folks in Seattle, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boise, Idaho, Missoula, Montana, Salt Lake City, and areas in between will all see a temperature drop between Monday and Wednesday.

"Cities along the I-5 corridor, such as Seattle, Portland, and Medford, Oregon, will see daytime highs similar to those of mid-October," said Hoegg.

California, a state devastated with wildfires, will get some relief. Thermometers that read in the 100s across the Central Valley are expected to read in the lower 80s by Monday, certainly a noticeable and welcome change.

Last week and this week will have quite the contrast in the West, with temperatures dipping below average for the first time since the beginning of September in some locations.

Exceptional drought and the recent stretch of scorching heat has caused problems, including turning California into a tinder box. Many fires are currently raging across the state, including the Butte Fire which exploded in growth early on Friday.

Nearly 65,000 acres have been burned and the fire is only 5% contained as of Saturday morning, according to the California government website.

A state of emergency was declared in Amador and Calaveras counties on Friday as thousands were forced to evacuate after the fire threatened and burned homes near the town of San Andreas. Nearly 250 fire engines and thousands of fire personnel are battling the blaze.

According to the USDA Forest Service, 33 large fires are currently burning across the West. Five states are dealing with these dangerous blazes and they include California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

The Rough Fire east of Fresno is threatening to sweep through an ancient grove of Giant Sequoia trees, according to the Associated Press. This lightning-caused fire is only at 29 percent containment as of Saturday morning as firefighters rush to get it under control.

While the weekend will end warm, the cooldown next week will certainly help firefighters battling the blaze. The unsettled weather may even bring some rain to parts of the West, although thunderstorms could cause more wildfire problems due to lightning.