It’s Been Boring

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?

Image may contain: night, sky and outdoorThis photo was taken from the Lolo National Forest Facebook page, the photographer was not named.Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

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

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature




23 thoughts on “It’s Been Boring

  1. It always amazes me when people don’t understnd that managing (taking care of) forests, wildlife, livestock, children…. makes them better. Leaving things alone can actually be neglectful and make things worse.


  2. As hard as it to look at those cut mountain sides, we need to realize that it is necessary and they regrow!! Having taken the logging/lumbering tour in Forks, I have a new understanding. We saw an area that our tour guide logged in the 70’s, that was replanted, and being relogged the day we toured. Trees regrow!!! Underbrush needs to be removed. Such a sad site to see in your photos.


    1. It is so, so sad to me to see all the burned areas in our state–I’m not a fan of clear cut logging but I think I prefer that scene to burned. It’s interesting that your tour changed your perspective.


      1. I did question the gentleman on many issues I had with logging. When he explained the difference financial between clear cutting and selective cutter, I was able to understand why clear cutting was so important. We want paper and wood products, but we don’t want clear cutting. Selective cutting takes forever and, therefore, is very expensive. We aren’t willing to pay. When you stand among the operation, you realize how impossibly slow it is to selectively cut and get the trees out one at time through other trees. I felt much better knowing how tightly regulated the cutting is and that each area is hand planted within two years. I was also pleased to see all the replanted areas all over the Olympic peninsula thriving. Even the way the left over parts are piled and removed is regulated. I also questioned the run off of mud and the fish being effected in the rivers. He said this isn’t a problem and if it is for some reason, silk screening is placed along that area. You saw how they leave habitat trees for the birds on our post. They also leave large areas of trees over any natural water such as a creek for protection and evaporation control. It was interesting to ride around after the tour and understand why certain tree stands were there. Seeing all the healthy regrowth made feel much better about clear cutting.


  3. I think none of us is in a position to know the whole story. It’s not as simple as “liberal judges” standing in the way. Owners of property, local governments and federal governments stand in the way. They all have their reasons and we cannot know all the truths. Wish it weren’t so. Sorry yall.


  4. The devastation this year is incredible. And I agree that they need to let the loggers do their job. This post really expresses how I feel also.


  5. So sad Janna. Tom’s sister and friend came here from Calagary Alberta yesterday. They had horror stories to tell. To say nothing about all the smoke people are having to endure because of the fires even if they live hundreds of miles away from the fire.


  6. And when the forest are managed and thined, it’s a win, win! Money for taxes, business prosper, animals move in to eat grass. WHY, WHY do tree huggers think they know more than the locals or expert foresters!


    1. Yes, the trees grow back! I grew up in the south where International Paper Company was king–they clear cut, re-planted, then thinned to get better growth. Read John and Pam’s comment–it makes a lot of sense!


  7. Do people know trees are a renewable resource? They grow back!
    How about we quit eating corn? To save all the cornstalks? Oh yea, they grow back also!!!


  8. Yes and on top of that where does the 18 million come from and that’s only one fire
    California is at the point that they’re going to stop sending firefighters to fight fires for the forest service because the forest service is not paying California fire fighters for the job that they’ve done so far


    1. I wouldn’t say the fires are due to the insects but there are acres and acres of dead trees in Montana from beetle kill–just makes the fires burn hotter and farther. At Twin Lakes where we stayed recently in a campground loggers had gone in and selectively removed all the dead trees–we were sure it was done to make the campground safer–no dead trees falling on the campers but probably done also to keep the live trees healthy.


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