Montana Outdoors

September 10, 2017

Sheep Gap Fire, September 10, 2017

Filed under: wildfire — Tags: , , — montucky @ 11:26 am

For the past week the Sheep Gap Fire, which is now one of six fires in what has been named the “Highway 200 Complex”, has been completely hidden in smoke which has been held on the valley floor by an inversion layer. That caused lower temperatures and reigned in the fire somewhat allowing the fire crews to construct dozer lines in front of it on the north and east sides, protecting the homes there. So far no homes have been lost.

Yesterday afternoon a west wind came up which cleared out a lot of the smoke, making some of the fire area visible again. The first of the following pictures was taken last evening, the rest this morning.

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

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38 Comments »

  1. I’ve been wondering how it’s going. Glad to hear no homes have been lost. Montana should not be allowed to have wildfires. It’s too beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 10, 2017 @ 11:30 am

    • It was good to be able to see through the smoke. This is the very best we could have hoped for. My hat is off to the fire crews who endured all of that smoke for so long. They did a magnificent job!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 12:08 pm

      • I love our local fire department too. They saved the whole forest (and our house in it) from going up when our neighbours’ house was on fire this spring. Firefighters never get enough credit for the good work they do.

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 10, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

        • In the U.S. about 75% of all firefighters are volunteers. Is it similar in your area too?

          Like

          Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 12:56 pm

          • Yes, ours are volunteers. At the time of the neighbours’ fire, no one was at the fire department building, and yet they got to the fire with two trucks in 7 or 8 minutes. Two minutes later, the forest would have lit up. One tree between their house and ours was scorched badly, all the needles yellow. These are tall firs. Terrifying thought if they’d caught fire. I wrote a letter to thank the firefighters.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 10, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

            • Those firemen will appreciate your letter very much. They don’t often get much feedback unless it involves a large forest fire. When I rejoined the fire department (after being gone from it for about 5 years) I was touched to go into the fire hall and see a hand written note still on the wall that was signed by a whole class of kids thanking my partner and myself for visiting their school with an engine to let them get to know firemen a little better.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

              • I had a response from the fire chief, saying he appreciated my letter, so I was glad I had put my thoughts into writing.

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by wordsfromanneli — September 11, 2017 @ 10:21 am

  2. Thanks for the update. I’ve been checking Inciweb, but it’s good to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pat — September 10, 2017 @ 11:34 am

    • It’s a whole lot better now than it was last week, but we’re not out of this yet. The weather forecast calls for much cooler temps in the coming week though so that will help a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 12:44 pm

  3. Good news, Montucky! Thanks for the update.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hanna — September 10, 2017 @ 12:05 pm

  4. Thank you for the update! I was thrilled to see the blue sky yesterday. We have had our share of fires here in Oregon too..

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mother Hen — September 10, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

    • I’ve seen the Oregon fires on the news. We have fires all over the northwest! I’ve heard that we are getting smoke from Oregon and Washington inot here too.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:19 pm

      • It’s been ugly and oh my, you certainly do not need our smoke. I apologize… lol! Clearer skies today and we can see the sun.. Yay!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Mother Hen — September 11, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

  5. Wow, gorgeous photos. Amazing how something so destructive can make for such great pictures…

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Laura Elizabeth — September 10, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

    • I don’t like wildfires, but they are a part of Nature’s way of maintaining balance and they are interesting to see. Not much fun having your home threatened by one though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:23 pm

      • We have a wildlife preserve out here, Norbeck, and the story is that the environmentalists got a hold of it and had a hands off policy. Well, fires aren’t just allowed to burn either, so this forest got so overgrown that the wildlife wouldn’t even live there anymore… So much for a wildlife preserve. Now they actively thin and log, basically just good forest stewardship. And the critters came back.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Laura Elizabeth — September 10, 2017 @ 8:44 pm

  6. I’m glad that it’s calming down. I hope it continues.
    That’s still a lot of smoke though!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — September 10, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

    • Things are a lot better at the moment partly because the fire lay down a bit and mostly because of some excellent work by the fire crews while they had the chance. It’s still far from over.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:24 pm

  7. I’m glad to see your post, and read your assessment of things. I’ve been keeping up with NWS Missoula, and just this afternoon they’ve mentioned that there was better air quality — finally — and that there’s a forecast for snow down to about 6,000 feet. You’ve mentioned the need for snow to help tamp things down — ask and ye shall receive! At least, I hope you receive some moisture of one sort or another.

    Your photos are beautiful, too. I know it’s a terrible fire and the smoke is awful, but those colors are something, and the detail is exquisite. They have a painterly quality to them — so nice. Now, perhaps some of the men on the fireline can get at least a little rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — September 10, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

    • It will be interesting to see what the weather will actually do. Snow would be really good, but I don’t expect it in this area yet. Possible in the Glacier area or along the Continental Divide. Rain is also called “likely” for later this week. It wouldn’t put the fires out, but it would really help.
      The smoke has been very bad for the last week too. Yesterday afternoon it cleared up and today was much better: a wonderful break… hope it lasts!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:30 pm

  8. Good to hear that no one has lost their home so far. Thanks must go to everyone, you included, whose been working so hard to accomplish just that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — September 10, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

  9. Good that no homes have been lost so far and that things have improved. I had no idea that 75% of firefighters were volunteers.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — September 10, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

    • The wildland fire fighters are paid: on the Forest Service payroll or the State, and some are hired along with their equipment. The 75% statistic is for the typical city or rural departments. Some of the larger cities in Montana have a paid department and a volunteer rural department as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

  10. Thanks for the update, Terry. With no posts in the last couple of days, I was beginning to think the fire might have jumped the river and heading your way. We can only hope the wind dies down and you get some rain – preferably heavy rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — September 10, 2017 @ 8:01 pm

    • There is a possibility of rain in the coming week, but it would be no more than an inch at the most. That would be a help, especially to prevent new fire starts, but I think it will take some snow to end the fire season.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2017 @ 8:37 pm

  11. I’ve been wondering about you and am glad to hear that you are optimistic, from the post and comments. Incredible photos – they give a sense of the scale of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — September 11, 2017 @ 8:02 am

    • Thanks Jo. The fire news in this area is much more optimistic that it was a week ago. I hope it continues!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 11, 2017 @ 8:38 am

  12. Amazing photos. I am glad when seeing them. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — September 13, 2017 @ 1:09 am

    • The photos show some of the fire area but not the immensity of the whole thing.The fire was being rather quiet in these photos.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — September 13, 2017 @ 7:48 am

  13. I’m so pleased that no homes have been lost and that the fire has been reigned in. Great news ..

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — September 13, 2017 @ 8:02 pm

    • Still no homes lost, but due to a change in wind direction and velocity the fire is making a major run toward the east. It has quieted down a little tonight when the winds died down but tomorrow will be a different ball game. I was called out for a couple hours tonight and had the pleasure of being behind the wheel of an engine once again.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 13, 2017 @ 10:21 pm

  14. Relieved to hear no homes have been lost. Keeping all the folks who live in areas of these wildfires in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — September 15, 2017 @ 10:05 am

    • Thank you! We are now getting into a major change in the weather with much cooler temperatures and even a little rain which has really helped with the fires. The big fire near here as been staying put all day and as long as this kind of weather stays around it will be just about over. Another weather change though would not be a good thing still!
      I appreciate your concern!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — September 15, 2017 @ 6:43 pm


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