Rice Ridge fire expands to 7,400 acres
A lightning-caused fire continues to challenge firefighters in the Seeley Swan Valley near Seeley Lake.
The Rice Ridge fire has burned over 8,400 acres.
Monday’s weather provided for moderate fire activity along the northwest, while the fire experienced considerable growth on the east toward the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
The Tanana Chiefs handcrew from Tok, Alaska, work on the south edge of the Rice Ridge fire, building fireline on Aug. 2, 2017
A single engine air tanker loads water at Seeley Lake
Fire crews on the west side of the fire continued to improve fire line. Hose lays and sprinklers were completed along Highway 83 structures. On the southeast side of the fire, crews started to build control line to the east along Cottonwood Lake Road. Indirect fire line started to be constructed along the southern line in preparation for any fire growth. Helicopters worked the northwest and east ends of the fire.
The Forest Service said concerns today are in the Blind Canyon area, where fire activity is expected to increase. Heavy equipment and aircraft will be used to construct line and slow fire spread to the south and the southeast.
Crews are continuing structure protection preparation and assessments in Seeley Lake along Cottonwood Canyon and along Cottonwood Lake Road east of the Double Arrow Ranch.
Fire information booths will be staffed at the Valley Market and Rovero’s Hardware Store on Highway 83 from 10am to 6 p.m. The next public meeting will be held on Thursday, August 10 at 6pm at the Seeley Lake Elementary School.
The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for those who wish to pre-evacuate. It is located at the Potomac Community Center, 29827 Potomac Rd., in Potomac. All evacuees are welcome and there is no cost to stay in the shelter.
People watch the aircraft load water at Seeley Lake. The lake is closed to public recreation during the firefighting activity.
Smoke billows from the Rice Ridge fire near Seeley Lake Montana, Aug. 2, 2017
An air tanker drops water on the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake, Montana, Aug. 2 2017
Rice Ridge Fire base camp in Seeley Lake, Montana
Front lines of the Rice Ridge fire near Seeley Lake Montana Aug. 2, 2017