Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Western Wildfires

With the nation's focus on Hurricane Harvey's historical destruction and flooding in East Texas and parts of Louisiana, and the impending category 5 Hurricane Irma ready to hit Florida - all of Florida, there has been scant coverage of the wildfires in the West. No place has been hit as hard as Montana, although Idaho, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California have suffered huge outbreaks of wildfires.

The largest fire this season in Montana was the Lodgepole Complex Fire with over 270,00 acres in central/eastern Montana burned. Thankfully this fire is out, however many others are not. Currently there are approximately 167,513 acres on fire with 105 days longer for western wildfire season. Over 1 million acres have been burned so far. This information is from late afternoon Monday 4 September 2017. And this week's weather forecast calls for minimal to moderate winds with temperature's rising and low humidity plus a low chance of rain through the week does not provide much hope to reduce the's going to get worse.

Glacier Park is on fire - the historic Sperry Chalet, built in 1914, has burned to the ground. On Monday the Rice Ridge Fire grew on the south, east, and north sides adding another 6,701 acres, and has now burned 108,126 acres. It merged at Otis Creek with another fire to the north, the 10,424-acre Reef Fire. Combined, these fires have blackened 118,550 acres, well beyond the 100,000 threshold of becoming a “megafire” and as of yesterday is showing no signs of slowing down.

Some of the larger Montana Fires, there are currently 26 and mostly started from lightning strikes are:

Alice Creek Fire. 16 miles northeast of Lincoln, MT. 21,393-Acres and 0% contained.
Caribou Fire. 18 miles NW of Eureka, MT. 15,142 acres have burned.
East Fork Fire. Burning south of Harve, MT. 21,518 acres have burned and the fire is 85% contained.
Liberty Fire. Burning 17 Miles SE of Arlee Montana in the South Fork Primitive Area. 21,388 acres have burned and the fire is 17% contained.
Lolo Peak Fire. 10 miles SW of Lolo, MT. 45,012 acres have burned and the fire is 31% contained.
Meyers Fire. 25 miles SW of Philipsburg, MT. 53,737 acres have burned and the fire is 5% contained.
Park Creek Fire. Burning 2 miles N. of Lincoln, MT.14,985 acres have burned and it is 56% contained.
Rice Ridge Fire. Burning north and east of Seeley Lake, MT. 108,126 acres have burned and the fire is 2% contained.
Sapphire Complex Fire. 25 miles east of Missoula, south of I-90 in the Rock Creek drainage. 41,904 acres have burned and it's 53% contained.
Sartin Draw Fire. Burning 20 miles NE of Ashland. 99,735 acres have burned and the fire is 85% contained.
Sprague Fire. 9 miles NE of West Glacier, MT. 13,343 acres have burned and it's 35% contained.

Idaho is suffering from wildfires as well with the largest being the Highline Fire 23 miles east, northeast of Warren, Idaho with 67,942-acres burned and 0% contained, and the Payette Wilderness Fires burning 65,611-acres. There are 16 other wildfires burning, five of those well over 10,000 acres each.

Washington has 11 wildfires on-going. The Diamond Creek Fire around Winthrop, WA, is the largest with 95,000-acres and 65% containment.

Some of the ways you can help are:

Garfield County Go Fund me site. Northern Ag Net list of supporting efforts.

Monetary Donations:

Checks can be made to Garfield County Fire Foundation c/o Garfield County Bank PO Box 6, Jordan, MT 59337 (406-557-2201) or send to Circle c/o Redwater Valley Bank, PO Box 60, Circle, MT 59215 (406-485-4782). NOTE: Applications for Short term and long term funds can be made to Garfield County Fire Foundation and will be distributed by their board. Call the Garfield County Bank for more info.

Stockman Bank is also accepting donations to the Garfield County Fire Foundation at ALL of their branches and is generously providing a match of up to $10,000 for all monies collected through their branches.

Cash donations for fencing, hay and grazing are accepted by Petroleum County Stockgrowers Relief Fund PO BOX 147 Winnett, MT 59087

Y Cross Feeds in Jordan is collecting donations.This money can be used by producers affected by the fire for anything they need: fencing supplies, feed, vaccine, etc. Any unused portions remaining by September 1, 2018 will be donated to the Garfield Volunteer Fire Department. Call Larry at (406) 977-6228 for further details.

With a little computer research you can find other ways to help those in different states. Please help if you can.

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