MTPR

Seeley Lake Montana

The Rice Ridge Fire seen from Seeley Lake on August 1st, 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
Inciweb

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.

Extremely unhealthy air has prompted the health department to recommend that people should leave Seeley Lake, or at least try to sleep somewhere else. This view of the smoke from Seeley Lake was captured on the afternoon of August 10, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Classes for Seeley Swan High School in Seeley Lake are being relocated about 20 miles away to The Resort at Paws up next week. Seeley Swan High is currently part of a mandatory evacuation zone for the Rice Ridge Fire.

MTPR’s Eric Whitney spoke with Missoula County Public Schools Communications Director Hatton Littman earlier today.

A firefighter on the Rice Ridge Fire
InciWeb

Early yesterday afternoon John Thompson, the incident commander on the Rice Ridge Fire outside Seeley Lake was getting ready for some big challenges.

“There is thunderstorm activity to the north of us, and thunder activity to the west of us," he said. "And one of the challenges of thunderstorms over a fire is the unpredictability of the winds that occur. It’s really hard to set up an operation when the wind is spinning 360 degrees over the span of ten to fifteen minutes.”

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.

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