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Rice Ridge Fire Winding Down, Total Cost Nearing $45 Million

Photo courtesy of Inciweb
Photo courtesy of Inciweb

Firefighting efforts on the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake are getting much easier after western Montana was hit with cooler, wet weather. Fire Information officer Mike Cole explains how firefighters have been able to take advantage.

“As soon as we got that rain and cooler temperatures, we were able to go direct on that fire and build fire line, so now we have fire line all around the north-west, west and south side of the fire.”

The fire will still burn for quite some time, but Greg Ponzin’s Type one Incident Management Team will likely yield the fire to a type two or type three team before the end of the week.

“It’s definitely a lot cooler, and we can actually breath up here too and you can actually tell there are mountains around Seeley Lake for the last couple of days, which is a big switch from when we first came. We are in the process of downsizing, so we’ve been demobilizing people to other fires in the west, some to go home, we’re even expecting another shot of rain over the next couple of days.

An infrared flight over the weekend shows the Rice Ridge Fire had burned through over 160,170 acres, leading to a total bill for taxpayers of around 45 million dollars.

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