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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

River Road East Fire destroys structures near Paradise, MT

Rain has slowed the spread of the River Road East Fire after burning down structures and 16,000 acres near Paradise, Montana

Corin Cates-Carney | Montana Public Radio

Rain has slowed the spread of the River Road East Fire that has burned down structures and more than 16,000 acres near the town of Paradise.

Sanders County Sheriff Shawn Fielders told residents at a public meeting Sunday night before the latest rain that the McLaughlin Creek area east of town was “a nightmare.”

“There are structures that are burned down. I can tell you that right now. I’m not going to lead you on. There’s quite a bit of damage up there,” Fielders said.

According to fire information officials, a tenth of an inch of rain fell in the fire area Monday, slowing growth.

River Road East Fire danger leads to closures on portions of Flathead and Clark Fork rivers

Edward F. O’Brien | Montana Public Radio

Portions of the Flathead and Clark Fork rivers in Sanders County are now closed due to ongoing local fire danger.

While rain and cooler weather has slightly tempered the behavior of the 16,000-acre River Road East fire near the town of Paradise, it continues to grow. Fire officials say operations continue in the area presenting safety concerns for firefighters and the public.

The Flathead River from the Flathead Indian Reservation boundary downstream to the confluence of the Clark Fork River is now temporarily closed. The Clark Fork River is now closed until further notice from the Highway 135 Bridge at Ferry Landing downstream to the Clark Fork River Bridge in Plains.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is also closing three fishing and recreation sites just south of Plains.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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