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Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake grows 16K acres

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The Rice Ridge fire outside of Seeley Lake grew 16,000 acres in the past 24 hours, according to fire officials.

The fire has now burned very close to 156,000 acres.

Fire information officer, Mike Cole, tells NBC Montana the fire threatened no structures on its run last night.

Cole says the north side of the fire saw significant growth after fire activity picked up in the afternoon and continued well into the night, with temperatures remaining hotter than 60 degrees overnight.

With the fire staying active all night, officials predict it has probably added quite a few more acres since the infrared flight mapping it close to 156,000 acres at about 10:30 Tuesday night.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire is 38 percent contained. There are more than 700 fire personnel on scene.

It is burning north and east of Seeley Lake and began by lightning on July 24.

On Tuesday, the remaining evacuations were lifted. But officials warn evacuations could come again if fire conditions change.

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