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Monday
Sep112017

Clearing skies help crews on Rice Ridge Fire

Burnout operations on the Rice Ridge Fire Sunday- USFS photo (MISSOULA)- Although clear skies can mean more active wildfire, less smoke is helping crews renew their attack on the 135,000 acre Rice Ridge Fire burning in Western Montana. 

The blaze added roughly another 13,000 to 14,000 acres over the weekend, with a combination of new fire growth and aggressive burnout operations, as crews worked to keep the fire from spreading too far south and east near Ovando and Lincoln. 

Clearing skies meant fire teams were able to use aircraft on the fire for the first time in several days. There was also a large burnout operation, with aerial ignition devices being released from planes near Monture Cabin and Fore Road 477. Elsewhere, crews are using heavy equipment to expand and construct fire lines. 

Much of that attention has been focused on building fire lines along the west side of the blaze, which is closest to private properties. 

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office lifted all but a handful of evacuation orders for residents around Seeley Lake over the weekend. 

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