Montana Outdoors

August 4, 2007

Chippy Creek fire

Yesterday I posted a couple of photos of the smoke column from the Chippy Creek fire here in western Montana. At that time it was 7,000 acres and the photos were taken from the valley near where I live at a distance of 20 miles.

Today I did a little fire chasing and took more photos, this time at a range of 10 miles and the fire has grown to 37,000 acres (58 square miles) burning at high altitude in heavy timber. These photos are much more personal. They were taken from the USFS trail 340 near the top of Mount Baldy, a 7,000 foot high peak at the south end of the Cabinet Mountains.

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire

Imagine that much flame being visible from ten miles away! I would estimate that those flames are 500 – 700 feet high.

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire

This is now a large fire, so large in fact that it is creating its own weather. I took 60 photos as I sat for an hour on the trail, fascinated, watching the conflagration. It was like watching a movie: the scene kept shifting and the drama continually heightened. I have no idea what we do with something like this! It may be up to mother nature to stop it, but the first snow of the winter season will probably be at least another month away.

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