Rice Ridge Fire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rice Ridge Fire
Rice Ridge Fire.jpg
Rice Ridge Fire on September 12, 2017
Location Lolo National Forest, Montana in the United States
Coordinates 47°16′N 113°19′W / 47.27°N 113.31°W / 47.27; -113.31Coordinates: 47°16′N 113°19′W / 47.27°N 113.31°W / 47.27; -113.31
Statistics[1][2]
Cost $33.8 million
Date(s) July 24, 2017 (2017-07-24)
Burned area 155,900 acres (631 km2)
Cause Lightning
Map
Rice Ridge Fire is located in Montana
Rice Ridge Fire
Location of fire in Montana.

The Rice Ridge Fire was a wildfire that burned northeast of Seeley Lake in the Lolo National Forest in Montana in the United States. The fire, which was started by a lightning strike on July 24, 2017, became a megafire on September 3, growing from 40,000 acres (162 km2) to over 100,000 acres (405 km2), at which time it became the nation’s top wildfire priority as of early September 2017.[3] [4] Located north and east of Seeley Lake, Montana, over 700 firefighting personnel were assigned to the blaze, primarily active in a mountainous lodgepole and mixed conifer forest.[4] The fire had burned 155,900 acres (631 km2) and at one point threatened over 1,000 homes in Powell County and Missoula County including the town of Seeley Lake, Montana and areas north of Highway 200, east of Highway 83. Evacuation orders included parts of Powell County north of Montana Highway 200,[5] areas east of Montana Highway 83, and evacuation warnings for other sections of the forest within Missoula County.[6]

Fire as seen from Seeley Lake, Montana

August[edit]

The Rice Ridge Fire was started by a lightning strike on July 24, 2017.[4] By August 5, the fire had spread near Morrell Falls and made runs towards the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Aircraft focused on making water drops while crews worked on protective activities along Highway 83 and on the northside of Seeley Lake and Double Arrow Lodge. Evacuation warnings were put in place for residents of on both side of Highway 83 south of Rice Ridge Road to Morrell Creek and south of Cottonwood Lakes Road, east of Highway 83, including Seeley Lake and Double Arrow Lodge. The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Potomac Community Center.[7] On September 6, a drone flew into the restricted fire area, causing fire protection work to stop temporarily.[8]

As of August 7, Seeley Lake itself was closed so that aerial crews could draw water from the lake, but the homes and businesses around the lake were open.[9] The fire burned on the east side of Rice Ridge and in Swamp Creek.[10] Crews shifted to focus on containing the fire on Morrell Mountain, also protecting the Morrell Mountain Lookout.[11] Seeley Lake re-opened for recreational use on August 18.[12] The next day, one campground remained closed and the fire had grown in Cottonwood Creek, causing Lolo National Forest to expand closures.[13]

On August 24, a forest service road, running north along Cottonwood Canyon, was evacuated due to threats to two cabins.[14] Two trails were also closed.[15] By the 27th, the fire had expanded to 22,427 acres (91 km2) and threatened 1,060 homes.[16] The next day, Seeley Lake was once more closed for recreational use.[17] A third drone flight through the fire zone caused the crew activities to stop that evening.[18] Mandatory evacuations were put in place due to the fire threatening 580 homes in the Seeley Lake area and schools were closed.[19]

September[edit]

As of September 1, the fire had burned 37,032 acres (150 km2) and was 18% contained. The fire continued to burn on Morrell Mountain and towards Cottonwood Lakes Road.[20] Seeley Swan High School classes moved to a local resort due to fire threats.[21] The Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area was closed, too.[22] By Sunday night, September 3, the fire grew into a megafire after mapping flights reported it had burned 101,419 acres (410 km2), nearly doubling in size within 24 hours.[23] Additional evacuations were put in place over the next two days.[24] By the morning of September 5, the Reef Fire merged into the Rice Ridge Fire.[25] That evening, mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for Seeley Lake.[26]

On September 7, Seeley Lake reopened for recreational use.[27] By the end of the next day, structure protections were completed for 25 homes on the north side of Placid Lake and on cabins around Coopers Lake.[28] A strategic, aerial burnout took place over three days to help secure the fire line.[29]

Evacuation orders were revoked on September 15 and the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area and lands owned by The Nature Conservancy were re-opened.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Erickson, David. "Huge strategic burnout operation planned for Rice Ridge fire near Ovando". Missoulian. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Maritsa Georgiou (September 3, 2017), Rice Ridge Fire now top priority fire in nation: New evacuation orders issued, NBC Montana 
  4. ^ a b c "Rice Ridge incident page", InciWeb incident management system, US Forest Service, retrieved 2017-09-05 
  5. ^ USDA Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management,. "InciWeb September 5, 2017". inciweb.nwcg.gov. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  6. ^ InciWeb USDA Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management. "Current Evacuation Orders and Warnings as of 9.3.2017". Inciweb. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Daily Update for August 5, 2017". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Drone Intrusion". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update for August 7, 2017". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update for August 12, 2017". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update for August 17, 2017". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  12. ^ Bauer, Tom. "Seeley Lake reopens to boaters, swimmers". missoulian.com. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  13. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Information for August 19, 207". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "Evacuation orders, warnings issued due to Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake". KPAX. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update 8-24-2017". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update 8-27-17". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Firefighting efforts close Seeley Lake waters once again". KPAX. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  18. ^ Ouellet, Nicky. "Drone Shuts Down Air Operations On Rice Ridge Fire". Montana Public Radio. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  19. ^ Staff, KECI (29 August 2017). "Evacuation orders, school cancellation in effect in Seeley Lake". KECI. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update 9-1-2017". inciweb.nwcg.gov. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  21. ^ "Seeley Swan HS classes relocating to Paws Up Resort due to smoke". KPAX. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  22. ^ Staff, KECI (1 September 2017). "State trust lands closed due to Rice Ridge Fire". KECI. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  23. ^ Gabbert, Bill. "Rice Ridge Fire almost doubles in size to over 100,000 acres". Wildfire Today. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  24. ^ Staff, KECI (5 September 2017). "Rice Ridge Fire outside Seeley Lake grows to over 100,000 acres". KECI. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  25. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update September 5". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  26. ^ Friesen, Peter; Briggeman, Kim. "Seeley Lake evacuation order lifted east of Highway 83". Missoulian. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  27. ^ "Waters of Seeley Lake reopen for recreation". KTVQ. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  28. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update Sept 10". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  29. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire sees growth". FOX Montana. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  30. ^ "Rice Ridge Fire Update September 15". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  31. ^ "Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area Reopens". InciWeb. Lolo National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 

External links[edit]