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Entries in Rice Ridge Fire (4)

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

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.