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Seepay Fire expected to burn for weeks

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FLATHEAD RESERVATION — Fire officials on Tuesday presented a long-term fire plan to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council for management of the lightning-caused Seepay Fire which had grown to 1,050 acres.

The plan anticipated the fire burning until a major weather event ends fire season in September or October. It is located 20 miles west of Dixon. 

“This fire isn’t going to just go out in August,” said Bob MacGregor, spokesperson for the Hutton’s Type II Management Team in charge of fighting the fire. “It’s going to be burning for a while.” 

The team of 208 personnel and four helicopters made headway in drawing containment lines as recent wet and cool weather aided efforts, but the plan included strategies if the fire does rapidly gain steam, MacGregor said. 

On Monday crews were focused on protecting firefighters and the public and containing the blaze within the Seepay-Magpie Road area. 

Congressman Steve Daines was expected to tour the damage on Monday morning via helicopter. 

Cooler temperatures and increased winds are expected this week. 

The following roads are closed due to fire activity: Seepay Creek Road from Hwy 200 up is closed. Revais, Magpie, and Vanderberg creek roads are closed from the top over into Seepay. The public can still drive up to top of Revais, Magpie, and Vanderberg. Roads at the top are closed and barricaded. Fire managers realize this may impact local residents huckleberry harvesting but fortunately there is such a bumper crop this year that other areas outside the fire closure are available across the tribal lands.  For the latest fire information/photos

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