You might live in Montana…If you download 5 weather apps in the hope that one of them will say it’s going to rain soon. 😦
Four thousand firefighters, 125 aircraft and 350 Montana National Guard troops are battling wildfires this summer that have scorched almost 700,000 acres. There is no end in sight–no rain in the next ten day forecast. Here at our house we are in a cloud of smoke, eye burning, coughing, stinky smoke. I can’t even begin to imagine what the firefighters and those living closer to the fires are enduring. Evacuations are ongoing in many areas of Montana and new evacuations are occurring as I write this blog.
And then there is this news story which made me have cold chills–remembering the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in Yarnell, Arizona. Near Seeley Lake on Saturday the Liberty fire experienced several rapid wind shifts and gusts causing embers to cross the firelines. Sixteen firefighters from a hand crew and crew members from an engine found themselves caught between the main fire and spot fires. Fire managers report that 13 of the firefighters were able to escape east and out into a meadow, designated as a safety zone, next to Liberty Creek. Three other firefighters attempted to escape downhill towards the Liberty Creek Road where engines were parked. The firefighters made it to the road but found themselves surrounded by heavy smoke and fire. Initial reports indicated the firefighters started to deploy their fire shelters when a fortunate shift in the wind cleared the air long enough for the firefighters to locate an escape route and make their way to safety. All 16 firefighters are safe and accounted for with no injuries, according to fire managers. The 13 in the Safe Zone in the meadow north of Liberty Creek were picked up by helicopter. After being medically assessed by a fireline EMT, all 16 were taken back to the Incident Command Post in Arlee. (story from KPAX in Missoula, MT)
This fire season has been compounded by a lack of rainfall with August ending as one of the direst months on record, creating extremely dangerous situations. And while I would like to propose a “no campfires” rule for Montana every summer, the majority of these fires were started by lightening–something out of our control.
A few days ago, historic Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park burned in spite of all efforts by fire fighting crews.
Sperry Chalet was built in 1913 by James J. and son Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway, the prime developer of Glacier National Park. Listed as an Historic Landmark, these rustic buildings, built of native rock, have survived their rugged environment relatively unchanged for over 90 years. (quote and photo from the Glacier National Park website)
I’m still searching for a weather report which will tell me rain/snow is on the way!! 😦