Montana Outdoors

August 7, 2007

Two sets of rules: again

There are “two sets of rules”… “one for the rich, and one for the rest of us”.

At the present time there are 14 large wildfires burning in Montana and they have consumed a total of more than a quarter of a million acres. I’m quite familiar with two of the fires.

One of them is the Chippy Creek fire and I have posted quite a few photos of it: it is close to where I live. It has now burned about 44,000 acres (about 70 square miles) and I think at the present time it is Montana’s largest fire and will most certainly be the most devastating to our natural resources because it has been burning mostly in heavy timber. I have studied it and believe it will burn until the snows of winter finally extinguish it. It currently threatens about 50 homes, most of which are small ranches and homes that just plain, regular people have built by themselves, and those will most probably be gone by tomorrow night. (In my opinion, 44,000 acres is a ridiculously low estimate of this fire’s real area.)

Sixty miles southeast of the Chippy Creek fire is the Jocko Lakes fire which has now burned only 14,000 acres but is threatening several hundred structures in an area of exclusive homes, many of them summer or weekend retreats for the very wealthy. (I remember when I was a kid growing up in Missoula, the wealthy elite always spent their weekends at their homes on Seely Lake or nearby Placid or Inez Lakes.)

It seems significant to me that Chippy Creek gets scant attention by the media or anyone else, while Jocko Lakes has now been visited twice personally by Montana’s Governor who today said this about it, “This is rated as the number one most dangerous fire in America, so we’re putting as many resources on this fire as we can lay hands on. Folks from North America and beyond will do whatever we can to protect this community.” To my knowledge he has not even made a single comment about the Chippy Creek fire.

Governor, I think we can see where you stand.

Here’s what the Chippy Creek fire looked like today on an afternoon that had storms but very little rain included with them. They were taken about ten miles away, from the top of Mount Baldy.

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek Fire

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