Montana Outdoors

September 18, 2018

Sheep Gap fire; one year after

Filed under: wildfire — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:58 pm

It has been a very hot and dry summer in these parts but now the weather has finally cooled off and it feels like the start of fall. After several months without a good hike because of the heat I decided yesterday to visit the area of the Sheep Gap fire which, during August and September of last year, consumed thirty eight square miles of heavy timber on steep mountainsides in the Coeur d’ Alene Mountains just south of here above the Clark Fork River. It was possible to drive on a Forest Service road for about four miles up into the burned area at which point it is closed to motorized vehicles. I then hiked for about four more miles past the barricade to get roughly into the center of the fire area to see what it looks like now. (This first picture was taken of that area last year when it was on fire:)

Sheep Gap Fire at night

The following pictures were taken yesterday during that hike and in them you can see the progress of the colonizing plants as they have begun to rejuvenate the land, the patches of grasses that somehow were able to survive, the sections of timber within the boundary of the fire that were relatively untouched, and wonderfully, the flowers that have been able to bloom already despite the devastation in the burn. The resilience of the forest is incredible!

Clark Fork Valley

Mullein

Sheep Gap fire

Asters

Arnica

Sheep Gap fire

Fireweed

Sheep Gap fire

Indian Paintgrush

Sheep Gap fire

Yarrow

Sheep Gap fire

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September 19, 2017

An abrupt change

Filed under: wildfire — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:04 am

DSC_4641

This is pretty much the same way that this scene has looked since around the end of August, but this morning there is a huge difference. The haze today is fog and water vapor, not smoke from the fires. What a relief! There is still much work to be done on the fires, but the threat is very much less.

September 11, 2017

Sheep Gap Fire, September 11, 2017 ~ Day 14

Filed under: wildfire — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:46 pm

This afternoon the sun came out for a while and much of the fire activity shifted toward the west so I went down there to get a visual fire update from that end.

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

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

September 2, 2017

Sheep Gap Fire, Night of September 2, 2017

Filed under: wildfire — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:22 pm

The fire has gotten much worse. Hopefully it will settle down later tonight. The flames and coals are spread over more than a mile east and west and come way down the mountain.The last three photos were taken at about 8:30 tonight, the first one from my driveway an hour earlier.

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire, Morning of September 2, 2017

The fire is building up again this morning after some pretty good activity during the night. Here are a few photos of a water drop by a big helicopter this morning

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Sheep Gap Fire

Here’s a closer look at the big helicopter as it is taking on more water from the river.

Sheep Gap Fire - helicopter

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