Western Montana is burning, acre by acre. One fire in particular, the Lolo Peak Fire has turned especially ugly–19,000 acres so far and last night it made a 4000 acre run. Highway 12 through western Montana is now closed. One fire fighter has been killed, homes have been burned, people are evacuated and displaced from their homes. The cost to fight this one fire has reached $18 million.
In Seeley Lake, a small western Montana community where the Cowboy’s Mom and Dad lived at one time, the smoke is horribly unhealthy and people are being told to leave. But how do you leave your livelihood–you own the local gas station–if you leave the community has no place to purchase fuel and you have no income. Same with the restaurant owner–how do you walk away and leave your business?
This photo was taken from the Lolo National Forest Facebook page, the photographer was not named.
This photo was taken by Radd Icenoggle and posted on a Facebook group–Montana Photography.
And yet the conservationists sue the USFS to stop any logging or thinning and the liberal judges agree. When logging ceases so do the lumber mills–Seeley Lake used to be a robust little community–due to logging. Other businesses which supported the loggers such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc.–they all close. And, I can’t bear to think of all the wild animals which are perishing in these fires.
Even with logging forest fires will happen but if the timber and undergrowth are thinned, these forest fires become easier to fight and more quickly stopped.
So, we spend millions and millions of dollars to fight these forest fires. Lives are lost, homes/businesses are destroyed, animals die–just so we don’t cut any trees.
Photo by Ken Malgren