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Aftermath
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Rice Ridge Fire Aftermath - Seeley Lake, Montana

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View along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake.  This scene is among the first of those to strike the traveler showing the evidence of the Rice Ridge fire north of Seeley Lake, Montana.  So many trees have been cut down.  The burned areas just get larger from here. View along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake, Montana.  So many burned trees are down.  The burned areas are vast but surprisingly, there are also many unburned areas.

View along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake.  This scene is among the first of those to strike the traveler showing the evidence of the Rice Ridge fire north of Seeley Lake, Montana.  So many trees have been cut down.  The burned areas just get larger from here.

View along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake, Montana.  So many burned trees are down.  The burned areas are vast but surprisingly, there are also many unburned areas.

View of the Swan Range along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake, Montana.  As a result of the fire, the distant views are no longer obscured by trees. View of the Swan Range behind the burned forest along FR 4353 north of Seeley Lake, Montana.

View of the Swan Range along FR 4353 traveling north from Seeley Lake, Montana.
As a result of the fire, the distant views are no longer obscured by trees.

View of the Swan Range behind the burned forest along FR 4353 north of Seeley Lake, Montana.
Most of the large standing trees will survive.  These smaller ones are questionable.

Graded access road, FR 4381, to the new bridge up ahead which crosses Morrell creek on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 5/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding. Looking east across the new wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 5/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding. Looking south (downstream) from the new bridge crossing Morrell Creek as it appeared on May 11, 2017.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding.

Graded access road, FR 4381, to the new bridge up ahead which crosses Morrell creek on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 5/11/17.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding. AFTER pictures below.

Looking east across the new wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 5/11/17.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding. AFTER fire pictures below.

Looking south (downstream) from the new bridge crossing Morrell Creek as it appeared on May 11, 2017.  The bridge never opened and will already require rebuilding. AFTER fire pictures below.

Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire. Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire. Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  Morrell Creek below is dry.

Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.

Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.

Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  Morrell Creek below is dry.

Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire. Morrell Creek below is dry. Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire.  Morrell Creek below is dry. Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The steel substructure may be salvageable.  Morrell Creek below is dry.

Looking east across the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The bridge and forest have sustained heavy damage in the Rice Ridge fire. Morrell Creek below is dry.

Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The steel substructure may be salvageable.  Morrell Creek below is dry.

Side view of the burned wooden bridge crossing Morrell Creek on FR 4381 on the way to Morrell Falls trailhead and Pyramid Pass trailhead as it appeared 10/11/17.  The steel substructure may be salvageable.  Morrell Creek below is dry.

Internal Links:

Rice Ridge Fire page up to Aug 16th, 2017

The Rice Ridge Fire - my perspective as a Seeley Lake resident.  By Diana Olmstead

The old bridge across Morrell creek is still in operation.  Morrell creek bed is dry.  

 

The old bridge across Morrell creek is still in operation.
Morrell creek bed is dry.

 

The bathroom and parking lot for the Morrell Falls trailhead survived the fire.  There are some burned trees nearby. The Morrell Falls trail.  Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead. The Morrell Falls Trailhead looking toward the entrance road to the parking lot.

The bathroom and parking lot for the Morrell Falls trailhead survived the fire.  There are some burned trees nearby.

The Morrell Falls trail.  Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead.

 The Morrell Falls Trailhead looking toward the entrance road to the parking lot.

Wildland Fire Information sign at the Morrell Falls trailhead 10/11/17.  Worth reading.. click to enlarge. Burned log under unburned logs. Picture taken 10/11/17 about 50 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead looking east. Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead.  This burned tree is a typical 'snag'.  It is obviously dead with a burned out base.

Wildland Fire Information sign at the Morrell Falls trailhead 10/11/17
Worth reading... Click to enlarge.

Burned log under unburned logs. Picture taken 10/11/17 about 50 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead looking east.

Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead.  This burned tree is a typical 'snag'.  It is obviously dead with a burned out base.

Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead looking back towards the trailhead.  Judging by this, you wouldn't know anything had burned. Picture taken 10/11/17 at the Morrell Falls trailhead parking lot.  This burned tree is a typical 'snag'.  It is obviously dead with a very weakened burned out base.  The height of the tree is shown in the picture to the right. This tree is tall enough that if it falls, it may well land on top of a car in the parking lot. A very dangerous 'snag'.  Picture taken 10/11/17 at the Morrell Falls trailhead parking lot. It is obviously dead with a very weakened burned out base (shown in the picture to the left).  This tree is tall enough that if it falls, it may well land on top of a car in the parking lot.

Picture taken 10/11/17 about 100 yards up the trail from the Morrell Falls trailhead looking back towards the trailhead.  Judging by this, you wouldn't know anything had burned.

Picture taken 10/11/17 at the Morrell Falls trailhead parking lot.  This burned tree is a typical 'snag'.  It is obviously dead with a very weakened burned out base.  The height of the tree is shown in the picture to the right. This tree is tall enough that if it falls, it may well land on top of a car in the parking lot.

A very dangerous 'snag'.  Picture taken 10/11/17 at the Morrell Falls trailhead parking lot. It is obviously dead with a very weakened burned out base (shown in the picture to the left).  This tree is tall enough that if it falls, it may well land on top of a car in the parking lot.