Montana Outdoors

October 22, 2007

Chippy Creek fire revisited

One week ago the last of the access roads into the area of the Chippy Creek fire were re-opened and so yesterday I was able to make my first brief visit into one small part of the burned area near Thompson Peak for a few photos.

The fire started on July 31, 2007 and burned from the west, ten miles east across the Cabinet Mountain range, then spread fifteen miles north and south, consuming a total of one hundred and fifty square miles. On August 14th from a mountain ten miles to the south of Thompson Peak I took this photograph which shows the smoke column from the fire then burning in this exact area:

Chippy Creek Fire

Following are a few scenes of the southwest slope of Thompson Peak photographed yesterday, showing where all that smoke came from. As with any large forest fire, there are areas within its borders where the vegetation was totally consumed, other areas where the flames swept through too rapidly to burn everything but hot enough to kill the trees, and a few small areas which escaped with only minor damage.

Chippy Creek Fire

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire


  1. Neat – the few times I’ve hiked through recent’ish burns, I find it fascinating to see how nature adapts and repairs


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — October 23, 2007 @ 8:57 am

  2. Before and after. Both are part of the process of natural growth. Thanks for sharing the journey.



    Comment by knightofswords — October 23, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  3. Adam,

    I didn’t have the time to explore the burn much this trip, but on another burn area from this year’s fires new grass can already be seen amidst the charcoal. It starts quickly.


    Comment by montucky — October 23, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  4. knightofswords,

    I thought it would be interesting to see what the area looked like after creating all the pyrotechnics. I’ll try to follow the progress of this area as it begins to recuperate. Probably not much yet this year because it will be snow covered, but next spring should be interesting. I had planned a hike through the center of the area this summer, but since that wasn’t possible, I’ll plan it for next year, early summer.


    Comment by montucky — October 23, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

  5. The dimensions taken on during regrowth will be an interesting portfolio. I’m anxious to witness your record of it.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 24, 2007 @ 5:16 am

  6. Yes, I really want to follow it. I cut some firewood in the 2002 burn area on Siegel Creek yesterday and noticed more and more of the re-growth, thinking about Chippy Creek. Most notable there now is the huge number of small pines (about two feet tall now). There’s almost too many, but I guess Nature knows best.


    Comment by montucky — October 24, 2007 @ 8:26 am

  7. Next spring when you go in there look for morel mushrooms, I have read where that after a forest fire people find them by the thousands in burnt out areas, you may not like to eat them but if you do take a look.

    Great shots BTW 🙂


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — October 24, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  8. Yes, that area will be swarming with people when the mushrooms start to grow. Fortunately there are very few roads into it and it is very rugged so that will keep the traffic down. Sometimes it can get like a range war when people from all over come for them. I’ll get some though.


    Comment by montucky — October 24, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  9. Just in the area a week ago, lots of logging going on there. Have family in the area. Seems to be healing quite well. Fire burn’t right up to the cabin; blessed because all was saved. Family is ALL in the forest fire fighting service and was watched out for while taking care of and serving others.


    Comment by Abbeyjasper — January 22, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  10. Yes, I’ve seen the logs coming out. It’s good that we can salvage at least that. I’m glad your family suffered no loss! That fire was a terrible and yet awesome thing to see from the very beginning.


    Comment by montucky — January 22, 2008 @ 11:42 am

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