Montana’s exasperating fire season

Print Article

The fires of 2017 are consuming more than our desperately dry forests and grasslands. They’re eating away at all of us, physically for our brave firefighters and emotionally for the rest of us.

Even those who had never hiked to Sperry Chalet in Glacier Park felt the loss of that grand historic structure. It was a blow to all of us. The loss of so many buildings, like the dozens of structures at the Amish community destroyed in the Caribou Fire, weigh on us.

Other neighborhoods are threatened as well. Pre-evacuation orders have gone out in several areas; hundreds of people have been evacuated in various Western Montana locales. The smoke is choking and we’re likely not through the thick of it.

But we will persevere; that is the Montana spirit.

Tempers flared in the wake of the Sperry Chalet loss. There have been questions and accusations. Could more have been done early on to save the 1913 backcountry chalet?

Glacier Park Superintendent Jeff Mow has defended the park’s initial response to the Sprague Fire that consumed the chalet. He said all the lightning-caused fires from the storm that started the Aug. 10 blaze were treated as full suppression fires.

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has requested a full outside investigation of the fire. We’re glad to hear that an outside team will study what happened. There perhaps will be lessons learned for how future fires are managed.

Of course the big picture of forest management in the West will be at the forefront again once all the smoke clears.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines last week took to the Senate floor to raise awareness of the fires burning in the Big Sky State. He did some finger-pointing, blaming “radical environmentalists” as obstructionists who have prevented the proper management of federal forests.

There will be plenty of time for forest-management politics later, but we agree with his key assertion: “Either we manage the forests, or the forests are going to manage us.”

Hang in there, Flathead folks, and keep praying for rain. There will be better days ahead.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Good programs needs reliable funding

July 15, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The afterschool programs in Bigfork, Deer Park, Kila and Marion learned a hard lesson recently when they found out they had lost the federal grant money that had allowed the programs to operate for t...

Comments

Read More

Hospital needs a new approach

July 08, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake It was just two weeks ago when the Inter Lake published an editorial calling for greater financial transparency at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. That conclusion followed revelations that the hospit...

Comments

Read More

Court’s union ruling is common sense

July 01, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Public-sector unions were dealt a serious blow by the Supreme Court last week when the justices ruled in a 5-4 decision that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that repr...

Comments

Read More

Middle-schoolers make a difference

June 29, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake We’re beyond impressed with the three sixth-grade girls at Kalispell Middle School who developed an app — a computer application that can be downloaded to mobile devices — aimed at preventing suicide...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2018 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X