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State, federal officials briefed on Rice Ridge fire - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

State, federal officials briefed on Rice Ridge fire

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The Rice Ridge fire is burning north of Seeley Lake in Missoula and Powell counties. (MTN News photo) The Rice Ridge fire is burning north of Seeley Lake in Missoula and Powell counties. (MTN News photo)

SEELEY LAKE - Governor Steve Bullock, Montana National Guard Adjutant General Matthew T. Quinn and the new head of the U.S. Forest Service, Tony Tooke, met with Incident Commander Greg Poncin and others on Tuesday for a briefing on the nearly 156,000 acre Rice Ridge fire.

Also on Tuesday, the Seeley Lake High School LEOs -- the youth branch of Lions Club International -- served ice cream to firefighters at dinner in fire camp. Doug Janison, part-owner of Houston’s Too Catering, the contractor providing meals for firefighters at fire camp, then presented a $1,000 check to the LEOs for their help.

Fire managers report there was some significant fire growth in the interior and the northern part of the fire on Tuesday in the Bob Marshall Wilderness but did not threaten fire lines. The aerial burnout operation taking place the past three days on the mountain north of Forest Road 477 was also almost completed on Tuesday.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect at the Rice Ridge fire from  3 p.m. until 8 p.m. for winds gusting to 22 mph and low relative humidity.  

Staffed fire information is available at Cory’s Valley Market in Seeley Lake between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. as well as at the Blackfoot Mercantile in Ovando from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Anyone seeking shelter may call the Red Cross of Montana at 1-800-272-6668.  

Evacuations orders and Evacuation warnings 

  • Powell County evacuation order: includes the Monture Cabin area and the Coopers Lake area.
  • Powell County evacuation warning: includes all other areas of Powell County north of Highway 200 between the Missoula County line on the west and the Lewis and Clark County line on the east.

There are 771 people assigned to battle the lightning sparked blaze that's burning north of Seeley Lake. Officials estimate that $40.1 million has been spent so far fighting the Rice Ridge fire.

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