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Evacuation warnings lifted near Rice Ridge fire - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Evacuation warnings lifted near Rice Ridge fire

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SEELEY LAKE - The onset of wet weather has prompted the lifting of mandatory evacuation orders that had been in place east of the Rice Ridge fire.

The Powell County Sheriff's Office has lifted the evacuation orders for Coopers Lake and the Sheppy Zone near Monture Cabin at 11:30 am on Friday. Both areas have been downgraded to evacuation warnings and residents will be able to return to their homes.

A community meeting to discuss the nearly 156,000 acre Rice ridge fire will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Ovando Elementary School Gym.

Fire managers say that Thursday's cloud cover and cooler temperatures allowed firefighters were able to build fire line directly on the fire’s edge near Camp Creek and finally seal off a spot fire.

The portable retardant base at Kozy Korner helibase has also been shut down in anticipation of colder weather.

There are 703 people assigned to battle the lightning-sparked blaze. Officials estimate that $42.3 million has been spent so far fighting the Rice Ridge fire.

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