Blog Cabin
Monday
Sep042017

Winds drive Rice Ridge Fire to over 100k acres

The Rice Ridge Fire blows up near Copper Lake- MCSO photo (SEELEY)- The latest maps show the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake exploded in Sunday's dry, windy weather, nearly doubling in size to more than 100,000 acres.

It's now by far the largest fire burning in Western Montana and the biggest to be burning near population in Western Montana in more than a decade.

The lightning-caused fire had been growing steadily over the past weeks since it ignited in mid-July. But in the past few days it quickly passed 30,000, then 40,000 acres. By Sunday morning the fire topped 50,000 acres.

But the big run came yesterday as winds drove the fire east, forcing more evacuations in Powell County near Coopers Lake and north of Highway 200. 

The fire, which has been fought by a Type 2 Team since it began, will be turned over to one of the best fire teams in the Northern Rockies today, with Greg Poncin's crew coming on scene. Poncin's team has already had two successful deployments against the Lolo Peak Fire, and a history of dealing with some of the worst fires in Western Montana in recent years, including the Sawtooth Fire, Lolo Complex and last year's Roaring Lion Fire. 

Sunday
Sep032017

Rice Ridge Fire now largest in Western MT

Rice Ridge Fire has been burning for more than a month- USFS photo(SEELEY LAKE)- After another expansive run the Rice Ridge Fire is now the largest burning in Western Montana, topping 52,000 acres as of Sunday morning. 

The fire has grown by roughly 10,000 acres in a little over a day with containment around 18% in mountainous country east of Seeley Lake. 

The fire was started by passing lightning on July 24th and has continued to pose a challenge for firefighters, and the Seeley Lake community, much of which remains evacuated. 

The fire has continued to burn fiercely along the western edge facing Seeley Lake, and has been spreading to the east over the past couple of days. 

Evacuations are still in place along the eastern edge of Seeley Lake facing the fire. Other evacuation warnings also remain as crews were bracing for gusty easterly winds through Sunday evening into Monday. 

Sunday
Sep032017

Sprague Fire closes west side of Glacier's McDonald corridor

Sprague Fire- USFS photo (WEST GLACIER)- Worried about critical fire weather and the continued growth of the Sprague Fire, Glacier National Park authorities are closing the Lake McDonald-McDonald Creek corridor and order park visitors to evacuate. 

The fire, which started with passing lightning on August 10th has continued to spread in the hot, dry weather of the past week, and has now consumed over 5100-acres in the Gunsight Pass area immediately west of Lake McDonald. 

Saturday, park officials had said they would be closing all the trails and campgrounds from the south end of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass. This morning, that evacuation order was expanded to include closure of the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road, with all residents of the valley and concession housing told to leave. 

Logan Pass is only accessible from the east side of the park.

The fire destroyed the historic Sperry Chalet late last week.

Sunday
Sep032017

Caribou Fire more than doubles in size, more evacuations ordered

Residents view the increased activity of the Caribou Fire on Saturday evening - Forest Service photo (WEST KOOTENAI)- Dry conditions and high winds are creating massive growth on the explosive Caribou Fire, which has now more than doubled in size since Friday.

The fire, which started small after being ignited by lightning on August 11th, has blown up in the hot, dry weather of the past couple of days, and has now scorched nearly 14,000 acres. The fire is burning 18-miles northwest of Eureka on the west side of Lake Koocanusa, above the East Fork of the Yaak and has spread across the Canadian border.

Authorities are reporting this morning some structures have been lost as the fire made a 4-mile run yesterday. 

The Lincoln County Sheriff has expanded the initial evacuation order for both the West Kootenai North and South Zones. That impacts the small communities of Dodge Creek, Spring Creek and West Kootenai. Just over 300 people live in the West Kootenai area. 

The Red Cross has set up emergency services for evacuees have been set up at the Church of God in Eureka. A community meeting os set for 7 tonight at the Kootenai Fire Hall. 

Sunday
Aug272017

Release of Gianforte mug shot will be up to a judge

(BOZEMAN)- Media organizations are asking a Gallatin County District Court judge to release Congressman Greg Gianforte's mug shot, after the Bozeman Republican had the picture, and his fingerprints, taken late last week. 

The booking photo comes weeks after Gianforte was cited for attacking a reporter on the eve of the May special election. Gianforte had never been arrested for the assault, and pled guilty the following month. But the court had ruled he must have a booking photo and fingerprints taken as part of the case. 

However, because Gallatin County doesn't release booking photos, a District Court judge will have to determine whether the release of Gianforte's photo is in the public interest or should remain private.