Montana’s exasperating fire season

Print Article

The fires of 2017 are consuming more than our desperately dry forests and grasslands. They’re eating away at all of us, physically for our brave firefighters and emotionally for the rest of us.

Even those who had never hiked to Sperry Chalet in Glacier Park felt the loss of that grand historic structure. It was a blow to all of us. The loss of so many buildings, like the dozens of structures at the Amish community destroyed in the Caribou Fire, weigh on us.

Other neighborhoods are threatened as well. Pre-evacuation orders have gone out in several areas; hundreds of people have been evacuated in various Western Montana locales. The smoke is choking and we’re likely not through the thick of it.

But we will persevere; that is the Montana spirit.

Tempers flared in the wake of the Sperry Chalet loss. There have been questions and accusations. Could more have been done early on to save the 1913 backcountry chalet?

Glacier Park Superintendent Jeff Mow has defended the park’s initial response to the Sprague Fire that consumed the chalet. He said all the lightning-caused fires from the storm that started the Aug. 10 blaze were treated as full suppression fires.

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has requested a full outside investigation of the fire. We’re glad to hear that an outside team will study what happened. There perhaps will be lessons learned for how future fires are managed.

Of course the big picture of forest management in the West will be at the forefront again once all the smoke clears.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines last week took to the Senate floor to raise awareness of the fires burning in the Big Sky State. He did some finger-pointing, blaming “radical environmentalists” as obstructionists who have prevented the proper management of federal forests.

There will be plenty of time for forest-management politics later, but we agree with his key assertion: “Either we manage the forests, or the forests are going to manage us.”

Hang in there, Flathead folks, and keep praying for rain. There will be better days ahead.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Cyber attack a wakeup call for Flathead

September 20, 2017 at 11:54 am | Daily Inter Lake For most of us, the last week in Flathead County has seemed like something out of a movie. The idea that an anonymous hacker or hackers could shut down 19 school districts as well as several private...

Comments

Read More

On balance, it’s yes for Whitefish levy

September 17, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Taxpayers in the Whitefish School District have a big decision to make over the next couple of weeks. Do they want to spend $26.5 million for a new elementary school? Ballots were mailed out Friday ...

Comments

Read More

Hail to the thief: Trump steals the hope of conservatives

September 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake The silent coup has apparently succeeded. President Trump has been convinced to abandon his revolutionary program of putting “America First,” and has decided to play footsy with globalists like Chuck...

Comments

Read More

Two new civic projects grace Kalispell

September 15, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Kalispell is celebrating the recent opening of two new amenities that are sure to be well received by the entire valley. Last weekend the long-planned Foys to Blacktail Trail reached the finish line...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X