Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Still Fire Season

In the Northern Rockies, forest fires are a part of life, the same way hurricanes are on the Gulf Coast. We've had a light fire season so far this year, and usually by late September a good storm comes through and officially puts an end to fire season.  But this September has been among the driest on record, so it ain't over yet. 

On my way to get the mail this afternoon, I saw this above the ridgeline to the north.

Wildfires generally have one of two causes, lightning or morons. I haven't seen any lightning or heard any thunder lately. [Ed: It was a lightning-caused fire that smoldered for several weeks.] Here is what it looked like from near "downtown" Sula, about 13 miles away from my place. (For those who haven't been here yet, there is no "town" of Sula, and the 222 residents are scattered all over the upper Bitterroot Valley.  The Sula Country Store on Highway 93 is locally considered to be "downtown." This spot is just a short distance from the store, down the East River Road.)

I drove up the Forest Service road on the south side of the East Fork, behind my cabin, to see if I could get a better look at the fire from a higher elevation.

Now a northerly wind has stretched the smoke across the eastern end of the valley.


This is the view over the roof of my cabin.

No worries yet. So far the wind is calm, and the fire is still at least one valley away, but it bears watching. Updates tomorrow.

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