Rice Ridge Fire still gaining ground - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Rice Ridge Fire still gaining ground

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SEELEY LAKE -

The Rice Ridge Fire shows no signs of slowing, charging down 122,843 acres and only five percent contained.

ABCFOX Montana toured the fire line Friday to see what challenges this fire presents.

With uneasy wind conditions and thunderstorms, removing fuels is key.

Especially, when the fire this past Saturday was pushed north putting structures at risk in the Ovando area.

However, fire crews have been through some hardships on fire lines with removing trees.

"We are just short handed on people. But we are doing the best we can. We are having some hardships getting this move down the road,” said Phil Ossahwe. Division Supervisor.   

Ossahwe added this should help prepare for the worse, like winds pushing the fire further their direction.

Besides removing fuels, and doing some mop-up work, fire crews are also dealing with Grizzly Bears on fire lines.

Public Information Officer, Mike Cole said firefighters have been encountering bears.

"In Seeley Lake, where some of the homes have been evacuated. As result, a lot of garbage wasn't picked up, which has caused bear encounters. We have seen tipped over trash cans. Also, we have seen bears showing up on fire lines in the Monture Cabin area and near highway 200,” said Cole.

In fact, they have a bear expert from Fish, Wildlife & Parks to teach firefighters about Grizzly Bears.

"We have firefighters from back east and down south who are use to black bears but probably have never encountered a Grizzly Bear in the fire lines,” said Cole.

Cole said the camp has already purchased bear spray for firefighters to have on the lines.

Otherwise, fire crews are preparing for winds coming from the northwest to hit this weekend. 

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