Montana Outdoors

July 30, 2017

Western Montana’s newest fire:

Filed under: Forest fires — Tags: — montucky @ 9:25 pm

Forest fire

Forest fire

This plume of smoke burst on the scene some time between one and four o’clock this afternoon. I drove down to check its location and found that the fire is about ten miles beyond the mountain range in the photo, putting it about 30 miles away. For more perspective, the peak in the center of the photo is about 6,800 in elevation (4,400 feet above the level of the river in the foreground). With the current high temperatures, extremely dry conditions and present wind velocity it will quickly become a very big fire.

October 15, 2016

Inside the Copper King fire area ~ Part 2

Most of the photos in the previous post showed badly burned places within the area of the Copper King fire. The photos which now follow show many areas within the fire area that escaped the flames and which will help the whole area in its recovery. All photos in these two posts were taken from within the northeast sector of the fire area. The snow-capped peak that shows up in several of the pictures is Thompson Peak which is in the area of the Chippy Creek fire which burned 150 square miles in 2007.

Copper King Fire 21

Copper King Fire 22

Copper King Fire 23

Copper King Fire 24

Copper King Fire 25

Copper King Fire 26

Copper King Fire 27

Copper King Fire 28

Copper King Fire 29

Copper King Fire 30

Copper King Fire 31

Copper King Fire 32

October 12, 2016

Inside the Copper King fire area.

At the end of July a fire named the Copper King started not far from my home in western Montana. After burning for two months and covering about 45 square miles it was finally contained about the end of September and the restrictions on entering the area where it burned were removed. Due mostly to adverse weather conditions, today was the first good chance I had to go into the burn area and look around.

This morning a good friend and I hiked for about two miles into the burned area on USFS road 17354 which branches west off USFS road 887 about 4 miles up Todd Creek from the Little Thompson Road. In the valley the temperatures was in the upper 20’s, and when we left the Jeep, at an elevation of about 4400 feet, it was colder and there was about 4 inches of snow still on the ground left from a storm a couple of days ago. Perfect hiking weather!

A forest fire is an awesome event, unpredictable, sometimes seemingly whimsical, and its effects are far from understood by even the “experts”. Fire has always been a part of the existence of the forest and part of its natural order. Its aftermath is fascinating to see.

Following are 20 photos taken today on a hike into the Copper King fire burn. The first photo shows a kind of overview of the variety within the area of a large fire, from areas which were extremely hot to areas where the fire left large swaths of vegetation practically untouched. The other photos are pretty much in sequence as we hiked along the road through one of the areas which suffered intense heat and burning. I will follow up later with another post with photos that show some of the variation of fire effects throughout the rest of the area in which we hiked.

Copper King Fire 1

Copper King Fire 2

Copper King Fire 3

Copper King Fire 4

Copper King Fire 5

Copper King Fire 6

Copper King Fire 7

Copper King Fire 8

Copper King Fire 9

Copper King Fire 10

Copper King Fire 11

Copper King Fire 12

Copper King Fire 13

Copper King Fire 14

Copper King Fire 15

Copper King Fire 16

Copper King Fire 17

Copper King Fire 18

Copper King Fire 19

Copper King Fire 20

September 2, 2012

It will probably be called the “Combest Creek” fire.

Filed under: Wildland fires — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:31 pm

This afternoon a wildfire started up just to the south of the town of Plains Montana in the area of Combest Creek. It has been aided by some pretty good winds.

Just before dark there were several helicopters working the fire with water drops and two fixed wing aircraft, the yellow one dropping water and the silver and red one dropping fire retardant slurry.

Combest (?) fire

The Combest Creek (?) fire

Water plane

This plane was making water drops: see next photo.

Water drop

Slurry plane

This is a small slurry bomber and the following series shows one slurry run just before it became too dark to fly. (And take pictures)

Slurry drop

Slurry drop

Slurry drop

Slurry drop

Note: Here is some information on the yellow plane, a Model 415 SuperScooper.

Update: InciWeb has just started tracking this fire and have named it the “Blacktail Ridge” fire. It is now 250 acres.

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