The Rice Ridge fire burning outside of Seeley Lake sits at over 11,000 acres and crews are bracing for windy conditions this weekend.
Fire managers are preparing to strengthen containment lines and increase overnight staffing with a Red Flag Warning in effect from 2 p.m. Saturday until 9 p.m. Sunday, especially in critical areas around the fire perimeter and in Double Arrow Ranch.
The fire burned actively Friday in the Swamp Creek drainage and on the east side of Rice Ridge. Fire officials anticipate active behavior where residents and visitors in the Seeley Lake area may see well-defined smoke columns on Saturday.
The evacuation warning in Seeley Lake runs from south of Rice Ridge Road to Double Arrow Road on the east side of Highway 83.
Fire information booths are still being staffed at the Valley Market and Rovero’s Hardware Store on Highway 83 daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Residents are also being urged to sign up for Smart911 to ensure they receive any emergency messages about potential evacuations.
In the event of an evacuation, the American Red Cross will open a shelter at the Potomac Community Center. The shelter is on standby, anyone seeking to pre-evacuate that requires assistance or sheltering may call the Red Cross of Montana at 1-800-272-6668.