The Rice Ridge fire burning just outside of the town of Seeley Lake has now grown to nearly 10,200 acres and is now 10% contained.
A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Seeley Lake Elementary School to discuss the efforts to battle the lightning sparked blaze.
The evacuation warning remains in effect from south of Rice Ridge Road to Double Arrow Road on the east side of Highway 83. No actual evacuations have been ordered, but residents should remain vigilant.
The waters of Seeley Lake are still off limits to any recreational use as aircraft are using the lake to help with the firefighting efforts.
The air quality was listed as Hazardous again on Thursday morning with local health officials urging residents to leave the area because of the continued poor air quality.
Fire managers report the Rice Ridge fire is continuing to move to the east into the Bod Marshall Wilderness Area. The blaze is expected to once again grow on the northern and eastern flank and will be producing multiple smoke columns.
Fire information booths are still being staffed at the Valley Market and Rovero’s Hardware Store on Highway 83 daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Residents are also being urged to sign up for Smart911 to ensure they receive any emergency messages about potential evacuations.
In the event of an evacuation, the American Red Cross will open a shelter at the Potomac Community Center. The shelter is on standby, anyone seeking to pre-evacuate that requires assistance or sheltering may call the Red Cross of Montana at 1-800-272-6668.