Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Andi Bourne

Public Responses to Rice Ridge Fire Survey


March 15, 2018

SEELEY LAKE – Of the more than 100 attendees at the Rice Ridge Recap March 7, only nine filled out the US Forest Service’s survey requesting information relative to the management of the Rice Ridge fire. Only four addressed the fire, the others commented on the meeting.

The survey consisted of three questions

• What went well?

• What didn’t go well?

• What can we do differently next time?

Two responses agreed that keeping residential areas safe and “no homes were lost” was commendable. The other two agreed that information to the public and Seeley Lake residents was done well. “Manned stations (i.e. Cory’s) and maps were very good.”

One responder added that the overall evacuations notice and evacuations was done “much better than Jocko Lakes 10 years prior.”

One person felt “40 acres to 160 acres was unacceptable.” This person wrote a more aggressive attack when the fire was 40 acres with larger water drops should be done next time.

One responder said the weather didn’t go well. Changes for the future should include increasing the US Forest Service budget.

Another person said that the evacuation of seniors, the disabled and schools could have been planned better. They suggested a rural Montana community disaster plan for the next time.

The others who filled out the survey addressed the public forum for the meeting. The biggest praise came for the number of experts on the panel, providing a full range of expertise and ensuring that questions were answered by the most appropriate person and fully addressed.

Critiques from the forum included presenters needed to use less acronyms and jargon and speak in common language so the public could understand. Some also wished that certain presenters would have had more time to present, specifically Seeley Lake District Ranger Rachel Feigley who gave an overview of the Rice Ridge fire.


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