(MISSOULA) The Rice Ridge Fire burned more than 48,000 acres on Sunday, with the most recent infrared flight estimate at 10:45 p.m. Sunday; the fire has now burned an estimated 101,424 acres.
Evacuation orders and warnings are being issued in Powell County. The evacuation order affects all of Coopers Lake area. The warning area is everything else north of Highway 200 with the west and east boundaries being Missoula and Lewis and Clark County.
Fire information officer Mark Vosburgh said most of the growth on Sunday was on the eastern edge of the fire, and north of Highway 200 and Cottonwood Lakes Road into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
Containment lines near Seeley Lake and the Double Arrow Ranch area held with no significant growth.
On the northwest edge of the fire where there have been the most recent evacuations there was some fire growth but nothing significant.
Fire managers say they expected windy conditions due to the passing cold front with easterly winds, and had prepared containment lines. Still, the amount of growth was surprising.
The lightning-sparked started on July 24th.