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Entries in Montana fires (290)

Monday
Sep112017

FEMA approves grants to help with Montana fires

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is coming through with additional money to help Montana meet the additional costs of fighting fires this summer.

FEMA announced yesterday it was releasing funds to help with the Rice Ridge Fire, Alice Creek Fire, West Fork Fire and the Moose Peak Fire. Rice Ridge and Alice Creek are lighting-caused fires that have been burning fiercely in Missoula, Powell and Lewis and Clark Counties. West Fork and Moose Peak were also caused by lighting and are burning outside Libby in Lincoln County. 

Governor Steve Bullock had made a personal visit to FEMA's administrator, Brock Long, last week to ask for the funds. It's critical because the state's own firefighting funds have been depleted because of the extraordinarily long fire season. 

The funds can be used to pay for up to 75% of direct firefighting costs.

FEMA previously granted money to help with the Lolo Peak Fire and the Lodgepole Fire. 

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. 

Tuesday
Sep052017

Rice Ridge Fire continues to grow, although much slower than Sunday

The Rice Ridge Fire blew up on Sunday to more than 100,000 acres- USFS photo (SEELEY LAKE)- The Rice Ridge Fire adds another 7,000 acres to its fearsome total. 

But the blaze had no where near the growth that was seen during Sunday's high winds, which pushed it beyond 100,000 acres. The total Monday morning is now just over 108,000 acres. 

Most of the fire growth continues to be to the north and east, as the fire pushes into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. However, over a thousand homeowners from Seeley on the west to Coopers Lake on the east remain under evacuation orders. 

One of the best fire teams in the country took over firefighting efforts this morning, as Greg Poncin's Type 1 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team is assigned to Rice Ridge. Poncin's team has already pulled two critical shifts on the Lolo Peak Fire this season, and has worked on some of the worst fires in Western Montana in recent years. 

Monday
Sep042017

Fire crews using all available resources on Highway 200 Complex

USFS photo (PLAINS)- Fire managers are throwing everything they have at the Highway 200 Complex fires, which have already burned more than 8,000 acres in the Lower Clark Fork region.

Most of the fires started with passing thunderstorms a week ago Monday. But their growth has really happened since temperatures climbed and humidity dropped since late last week.

The latest maps show the fires have scorched just over 8,200 acres, capped by the Sheep Gap Fire, which is burning in the mountains just west of Plains on the south side of the Clark Fork River. 

Crews are using heavy equipment to build fire lines and aerial attack on the Sheep Gap Fire, where residents living along River Road West were evacuated over the weekend. However, no structures have been lost. 

Work also continues on the Deep Creek, Cub Creek, and Reader fires. Fire managers are surveying the Moose Fire to plan out their attack. But the smaller, Miller Fire is unstaffed because there are simply no more resources available. 

Fire managers are worried about the critical fire weather this evening, but also the forecast the next several days, with more dry weather forecast.

Monday
Sep042017

Sunrise Fire rumbles back to life, additional evacuation warnings issued  

The Sunrise Fire showed new life over the weekend-USFS photo (SUPERIOR)- The Sunrise Fire in Mineral County might have slipped from the headlines with all the major fires burning in Western Montana. 

And although the blaze burning east of Superior might be 90% contained, there's still enough burning to cause renewed concerns for residents' safety.

The Mineral County Sheriff issued Stage 2, pre-evacuation warnings for residents living in the Quartz Creek area Sunday evening, as high winds and very dry conditions breathed new life into the blaze. Fire managers are also concerned about Red Flag Warnings, with critical fire weather forecast through Monday night. 

The fire, which started in the first round of lighting-caused fires over Western Montana, has scorched over 26,000 acres.