Fire crews work on long-term plan to battle Seepay Fire


DIXON, Mont. - When smokejumpers arrived on the scene of the Seepay Fire on July 17, they quickly determined the fire was out of their control.

The fire is currently listed as burning just over 1,000 acres.

On August 6 the fire had burned through 100 acres, and within five days it had grown to more than 600 acres.

Fire bosses are working on a long-term plan to prevent the fire from growing. As far as containment goes, crews have established fire lines but containment is unclear.

The combination of tough terrain, weather conditions and remote location made the fire hard to combat. Fire crews knew the blaze would be tough to put out so they turned to aviation to help combat the fire in hard-to-reach places.

The lightning-sparked fire is burning on Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribal Land just 20 miles west of Dixon.

NBC Montana went to Ronan and caught up with fire crews. Fire official Bob MacGregor told us they are hopeful, despite the damage that's already been done.

"It slowed down. That moisture we got last week really helped us we got about an inch of rain on the fire here that really depressed the fire behavior a lot. It allowed firefighters to get closer to where the fire line is," said MacGregor.

Rep. Steve Daines came to check out the damage and the status of the fire.

"We should treat forest fires like natural disasters that we have, like federal disasters, and there's a bill we have that will treat a forest fire like other federal disasters," said Daines.

Fire crews are hopeful for rainy weather and cool temperatures.