Rice Ridge Fire

The Rice Ridge Fire seen from Seeley Lake on August 1, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The town of Seeley Lake is launching some First Friday events to try to bounce back after a difficult fire season. The first is this Friday night.

Chris Stout, Seeley Lake’s school superintendent, helped organize the event. He said, "The more we can offer in town, and the more that’s going on in it,  just benefits us because rural communities in Montana are sort of drying up.”

Montana Wildfire Roundup For September 1, 2017

Sep 1, 2017
Type 1 Chinook helicopter with bucket on Nelson Creek Fire

Governor Steve Bullock this afternoon declared a state of disaster in Montana due to wildfires. Two previous executive orders declared states of emergency. This disaster declaration allows Governor Bullock to mobilize additional state resources and more Montana National Guard troops to combat the fires. It is in conjunction with a directive to the Montana Department of Transportation that temporarily suspends certain regulations in order to make it easier to transport heavy firefighting equipment.

The Rice Ridge Fire public meeting in Ovando Tuesday
Nicky Ouellet

At last night’s public meeting on the Rice Ridge Fire in Ovando, John Thompson, the incident commander leading the charge against it, said Wednesday will be a big day.

"I'm gonna tell you straight up that tomorrow [Wed, 8/30] is probably going to be one of the most challenging days we have of this fire season," Thompson said.

Gary Ikerd and his wife Martha McManus (not pictured) at the University Congregational Church after being evacuated from their home in Seeley Lake due to the Rice Ridge Fire, August 29, 2017.
Edward O'Brien

An abrupt change in wind direction on the almost 31,000 acre Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake Monday  triggered a new round of evacuations, forcing hundreds from their homes.

A handful of evacuees wound up at the Red Cross Shelter at Missoula’s University Congregational Church.

Rice Ridge Fire activity in steep terrain, August 19, 2017.

Yesterday evening two new evacuation orders were issued for most of the east and south side of the town of Seeley Lake, affecting more than 500 homes.

Sara Rouse, an information officer for the Rice Ridge Fire says last night, the fire did not burn any homes.