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Warmth to rebound, high fire danger to ease across western US this week

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The taste of fall in the northwestern United States and high fire danger in the Southwest will give way to building summer warmth this week.

An unusually cool storm system for July will depart the West early this week, allowing temperatures to rebound and strong winds whipping the Southwest to ease.

This weekend is feeling more like early fall across the Northwest with Sunday being the coolest day and snow ending the weekend in the highest elevations.

The storm has also suppressed typical summer heat in the Southwest back to the deserts to end the weekend, but residents are facing a high fire danger due to the storm's gusty winds.

"Strong winds combined with a very low relative humidity will make for a high fire threat," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Zapolski. "Any fires that develop will spread rapidly."

Extreme care should be taken with sparks, cigarette butts and campfires.

The danger will extend from near the mountains and deserts of Southern California to Wyoming and New Mexico on Sunday.

As the storm shifts eastward, the fire risk will focus on places from Flagstaff, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Rapid City, South Dakota, on Monday. The core of the storm's chilly air will also center on the northern Rockies to start the new week, holding temperatures abound 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.

"The fire threat will decrease this week once the potent storm departs and [a ridge of high pressure] begins to work its way back into the West," Zapolski said.

Residents should still use care as the threat will not totally diminish, but will be less than to start the week.

A gusty breeze will elevate the risk on Tuesday afternoon across the Intermountain West. More localized afternoon breezes will create isolated issues for firefighters on Wednesday and Thursday.

Summer warmth to return

As the storm leaves early this week, the door will also open for temperatures to rise back to more typical summer levels across the West.

"The change in the weather pattern will allow for temperatures to quickly rebound by the middle of this week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Chyna Glenn said.

A repeat of the extreme heat waves from June are not expected, but highs in the Southwest will be a few degrees above normal for the second half of this week.

"Temperatures will be back into the triple digits as early as Wednesday and Thursday in some locations," she said. This includes Fresno and other communities in California's Central Valley and the valleys of southern Utah.

Palm Springs, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, will have temperatures reach or slightly eclipse the 110-degree mark.

"The month of June generally averaged 3-5 degrees above normal," Glenn said, "and so far with the persistent heat to start out the month and this next batch, July is expected to remain above normal as well."

The building warmth will further dry out the drought-stricken region's vegetation, providing more fuel for any ongoing or future wildfires.

Temperatures will gradually return to more typical mid-July highs in the Northwest this week. The most noticeable warming, when compared to this weekend, will occur across the interior. On Thursday, temperatures will rise 15-25 degrees above Sunday's highs.

The lower interior valleys will have the return of highs in the lower 90s-a stark contrast to the highs in the 60s that challenged Sunday's lowest high temperature record in Boise, Idaho.

A new storm system, albeit not as cool as this weekend's, will work to trim temperatures in the Northwest and California's Central Valley on Friday and into next weekend.

Gusty winds may once again get kicked up over the Intermountain West and enhance the fire risk.