MTPR

Seeley Lake Montana

Inciweb

This morning's air quality update from Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

"Good morning. Depending on where you are, you either woke up to nice air or chewable air. 

A super scooper plane loads up at Seeley Lake on the evening of August 1, while fighting the Rice Ridge Fire visible in the background.
Eric Whitney

The waters of Seeley Lake were reopened for recreational use earlier Friday.

Kristen Miller, a spokesperson for the Rice Ridge Fire, says the lake reopened because super scooper planes that had been pulling water from the lake were no longer being used on the fire.

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

Wednesday, Missoula County's health department made the unprecedented recommendation that an entire town, Seeley Lake, evacuate because of pollution from wildfire smoke. Eric Whitney has more on where that recommendation came from, and how it's being received.

SteveRainsPhoto/Inciweb

Today's update from Missoula Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

"The combination of active fires, strong inversions and Canadian smoke means we all woke up to varying degrees of misery this morning.

Montana air quality map for August 9, 2017.
Montana DEQ

The Missoula City-County Health Department is now recommending that people in Seeley Lake who are able to do so leave the area until the wildfire smoke event passes.

Recent air monitoring readings show record levels of harmful wildfire smoke in Seeley Lake, the department says, adding that even indoor air is not safe.

Rovero's gas station and hardware store was abuzz with activity Tuesday
Eric Whitney

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, firefighters were having an easier day on the Rice Ridge Fire than Tuesday. The cold front that moved in overnight moderated temperatures and raised humidity levels. That's according to Mark DeGregorio, a spokesman for the Rice Ridge firefighting team. 

"The fire behavior I think could be characterized as moderate today," DeGregorio said, "certainly more moderate than it was yesterday."

Predicted high winds overnight Tuesday into Wednesday did not materialize in Seeley Lake, but Tuesday was still a pretty scary day, as the entire town was put on an evacuation warning due to the Rice Ridge Fire.

A super scooper plane loads up at Seeley Lake on the evening of August 1, while fighting the Rice Ridge Fire visible in the background.
Eric Whitney

Half boat, half plane, the super scooper glides over the water's surface and guzzles up to 1,200 gallons of water in 10 seconds, then drops its load on a fire. A tiny propeller plane flies nearby to give navigation and water deployment tips. Seeley Lake was closed to swimmers, boaters and fisher-people on the evening of August 1 to give this plane space to work as it lapped trips over the Rice Ridge Fire, visible in the background, which has put the nearby community on an evacuation warning.

PD

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s carefully and seriously considering a request from the premier of British Columbia to deny U.S. coal exports through Vancouver.

Starting Monday night, a weather system will bring periods of moderate to heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, as well as the Seeley-Swan and Lower Clark Fork regions beginning at 11:00 p.m. tonight.

Corin Cates-Carney

Candidates in Montana's State Auditor race debated for the first time this election season during an event hosted by the Seeley Lake Community Council on Thursday. 

Democrat Jesse Laslovich and Republican Matt Rosendale challenged each other's ability to address rising healthcare costs, if elected as the state's top regulator of insurance and securities industries in Montana. 

The debate also featured statewide candidates in the contests for Superintendent of Public Instruction and an open seat on the Public Service Commission. 

Democrat Jesse Laslovich, left, and Republican Matt Rosendale, candidates for state auditor, at last night's candidate forum in Seeley Lake
Corin Cates-Carney

Candidates for three statewide offices debated in Seeley Lake last night, with Election Day just over a month away. It was the second debate in the town’s community hall in the last two weeks.

After a poor turnout by politicians and voters in the first debate night, event organizers expected the second round to bring in more of a crowd. But that wasn’t quite the case.

Mike Fellows speaking at a candidate forum in Seeley Lake Sept. 19, 2016. Fellows died in a car crash shortly after the event.
Corin Cates-Carney

At a small community hall in Seeley Lake Monday night, Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House Mike Fellows shared his views at a sparsely-attended candidates forum.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announces the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative at Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake Montana August 16, 2016..
Corin Cates-Carney

In June, Montana’s Democratic Governor Steve Bullock was elected chairman of the Western Governors' Association. The WGA is made up of 14 Republicans, six Democrats and two independents.

Tuesday, Bullock announced that he’s launching a new WGA initiative. He’s calling it the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative.

Missoula County Sheriff
Sean Robb

Until this week the Missoula County Sheriff's office hadn't had an increase in sworn officers in 30 years.
That changed today with the swearing-in of four new deputies, raising the department's total number of deputies to 51.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 28, 2015

Aug 28, 2015
A view of the Little Joe Fire from Thursday, August 27, 2015.
Inciweb

Stage 2 fire restrictions went into effect in the Missoula area today. The restrictions apply to public and private lands in Missoula, Mineral, Sanders, Granite and Ravalli counties, including the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests, BLM and state lands.

Fireworks Bans Spread Across Western Montana

Jul 2, 2015
Fireworks
(PD)

Fireworks bans are spreading across western Montana in the face of hot, dry weather, and high fire danger.

The City of Whitefish has canceled its 4th of July public fireworks display, citing a fire weather watch for Saturday, issued by the National Weather Service. The Weather Service says to expect high temperatures, low humidifies and gusty winds from the Flathead Valley, through Missoula to south of Dillon. Communities included in the fire weather watch include Eureka, Libby, Polson, Seeley Lake, Hamilton and Butte.

Sen. Daines at Chessman Reservoir with federal, state and local forest officials.
Steve Jess

Steve Jess is on the road, a few miles south of Helena, trailing a convoy carrying Senator Steve Daines and an assortment of local officials. They travel down about 20 miles of dirt road and the occasional cattle guard to a site just yards from the Chessman reservoir, where many of the surrounding hills bear the corpses of lodgepole pines killed by the mountain pine beetle.

Eric Whitney

We’re continuing our series of interviews with people involved in writing new Flathead Forest plan. One of those people is Amy Robinson, a staffer for the Montana Wilderness Association. Robinson talks about her organization's vision for the Flathead National Forest.

The Montana Chapter of Trout Unlimited announced plans this week to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who illegally introduce fish species into the state’s waters, something wildlife officials say is on the rise.

"It is one of the most irresponsible things that somebody could do to Montana's fisheries," said Mark Aagenes, Montana TU Conservation Director.