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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire evacuation order lifted in Montana’s Seeley Lake area

In an Aug. 30, 2017, photo, Steve Christman, operations section chief on the Rice Ridge Fire, talks about fire fighting efforts during a fire information meeting for Seeley Lake residents in Seeley Lake, Mont. (Rion Sanders / Great Falls Tribune via AP)
In an Aug. 30, 2017, photo, Steve Christman, operations section chief on the Rice Ridge Fire, talks about fire fighting efforts during a fire information meeting for Seeley Lake residents in Seeley Lake, Mont. (Rion Sanders / Great Falls Tribune via AP)
Associated Press

SEELEY LAKE, Mont. – The Missoula County sheriff’s office has downgraded a mandatory evacuation order for part of the western Montana town of Seeley Lake.

However, those 429 homes on the east side of Montana Highway 83 along with schools and businesses remain under an evacuation warning due to a nearby wildfire. And the air quality in town remained hazardous on Wednesday morning.

The residents were evacuated on Aug. 28 due to the lightning-caused Rice Ridge Fire, which has burned 187 square miles of forest land since it started in mid-July. The fire’s size nearly doubled between Sunday and Monday, increasing by 83 square miles.

Seeley-Swan High School students began the school year in an administrative building at a luxury resort on Tuesday. Seeley Lake Elementary School plans to start classes next Monday.

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