Smoky skies

Firefighters walk through the Rice Ridge fire camp early Sept. 5, shrouded in smoke from the fire burning more than 100,000 acres just east of Seeley Lake. Morning temperatures also dipped below 40 degrees in the camp.

KURT WILSON, Missoulian

Here's the latest as of Thursday morning.

More than 1 million acres burned: Montana has surpassed 1 million acres burned by wildfires in the 2017 season, and has drained its state firefighting fund.

How you can help: Here is information on how to help firefighters and those affected by Montana’s fires.

Stay up to date: Follow Montana Wildfires on Facebook or Twitter for fire updates.

New evacuations: Residents of neighborhoods north of Libby have been asked to leave by noon Thursday so fire crews can backburn against a threatening wildfire.

Alice Creek fire: Night operations section chief Tyler Monroe gives an update on the fire near Lincoln:

Expect more smoke: As bad as the smoke was Wednesday in most parts of southwestern Montana, it’s going to be worse Thursday in several places. Seeley Lake is seeing record-setting smoke pollution.

Contaminated hay donations: Some of the hay donations from across the country that have provided much-needed relief to central and Eastern Montana ranchers affected by the Lodgepole Complex fire and severe drought have been contaminated with noxious and invasive weeds.

Open for boating: Effective at noon Wednesday, the waters of Seeley Lake are again open to boating and other recreation. The lake had been under temporary emergency closure while aircraft used most of the lake to draw water to fight the Rice Ridge fire.  

Bears behaving: Despite hot and dry conditions that have turned forests into a tinderbox this summer, bears haven’t added much to the mayhem. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Jamie Jonkel said a “really good huckleberry crop this year might still be keeping most of them up high.”

River runs through it: The Norman Maclean Festival has been moved from Seeley Lake to Missoula because of the Rice Ridge fire and its effects. 

Montana wildfires on the Senate floor: Both Sen. Steve Daines and Sen. Jon Tester took to the Senate floor bringing attention to the wildfires currently burning across the state.

Fire photos: It's been a long fire season. Here are photos from this summer's wildfires in Montana. 

Montana ablaze: Here's a video explaining fire season in Montana: 

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