Montana Wildfires I – Intense Conflagrations Across the State

By Faye Higbee

Montana Wildfires I – Montana is burning from raging wildfires that have charred massive amounts of acreage across the state. They have been burning up since July when a state of emergency was declared. The Liberty Fire grew to almost 21,400 acres, as the Meyer Fire charged upwards of 37,000 acres. Satin Draw, Rice Ridge, fires that have consumed over 100,000 acres.

Montana fire officials are monitoring even smaller fires that have begun to creep into other areas.

All of the above fires are burning now and there are more pages of them listed, just smaller in amounts of acreage burned. The terrain is not easy to navigate…much of Montana is in mountainous rocky areas too steep for fire fighters.IT has been noted that some of these fires may not be contained until the snow flies. Tragedies for certain.

With national focus on Hurricane Harvey, and California fires, little attention has been paid to these fires in Montana. But feed and livestock have been lost as the fires decimate ranches and farms. None of the people we spoke with are upset about the attention being focused on Texas because they understand tragedy. But they also are asking for help.

The fires have chased visitors away from Glacier National Park, which will ultimately affect their livelihood as well.  “Red Flag” warnings have been issued again on September 4, as the heat and drought conditions push the fires along.

As Uncle Sam’s followers began to ask for someone to get the word out, we asked for photos of the fires to help our readers understand how bad the situation is. One lady, Ashlei told us the smoke has reached down into Wyoming and is affecting people’s health that far away.

Here’s why the smoke is so bad even that far away:

This is how many wildfires are burning in the West so far, with more likely.

Ashlei told us she and her husband had purchased some property in Eureka, Montana and visited it only to find the fires raging. They people of Montana need help. She is trying to put together some aid packages from her mother’s Food Bank.

A half million acres of Montana has burned since July. Montana Stockgrowers Association says that so far the losses of cattle have been limited, but in many areas officials have not been able to get in to make a tally. Other reports say that many ranches have been completely destroyed, turning the prairie, the ranches and farms into ash. The cattle have nowhere to go.

It will be another major catastrophe for 2017.

The State of Montana has a hotline the number is 1-844-515-1571 and will be staffed 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. It’s for people who need assistance with feed for the ranches and farms.. Doesn’t help much for people on weekends, but at least it’s something.

This is part I – we will do Part II on Tuesday in addition to the Updates from Uncle Sam’s Hurricane Relief Efforts in Texas.