So it turns out that the Derby Fire is the largest by far of the many forest fires in the Northern Rockies this year, although I should add there have been some larger range fires in Idaho and Nevada. The fire is still raging, and some wildlife has been caught in the fast moving fire. It is the first fire to destroy a lot of homes.

Most of this country is incredible wildlife habitat, and it won’t be harmed in the middle or long run. It may be improved. However, I suspect a lot of winter range burned and that might effect elk and deer this winter. This is transition from farm, foothills, low mountains and many coulées just in front of the Beartooth Range. Wolves and grizzly bears frequent the edges.

“Firefighters make Gains.” The Billings Gazette. There are good photos. Read the article.

On the early efforts to control the fire from the Billings Gazette. Read the article

September 4, “Fire officials order more evacuations.” The Derby Fire has grown to 180,000 acres and the weather is becoming more favorable for fire spread with rising termperature and winds. Mike Stark describes the Derby situation and other Montana fires in the Billings Gazette. Read the article.

September 5, “Derby Fire 20% contained.” Read Billings Gazette article.
September 5, “Crews labor to stop Derby fire’s march.” Read Bozeman Chronicle article.
September 6, “Latest Derby Fire fact sheet.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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