Rain, cold weather suddenly quells many Idaho-Montana wildfires.

Today it is 30 degrees colder than a couple days ago. It has rained widely in Idaho and western Montana. One to 2 inches fell on the massive Derby and Jungle fires south of Big Timber, MT.

It is not supposed to warm up again except just a little and more showers are predicted. The summer fire season is probably over. 8,779,061 acres have burned in the United States so far this year, compared to the 10-year average of 4,963,059 acres.

Nevada, which got little publicity, had the most acreage burned. Folks may say “well they are only range fires,” but range fires are devasting the West. Range fires used to be every 30 to 80 years, but the invasion of cheatgrass over a hundred million acres has altered the fire ecology, greatly favoring fire, and gradually burning out everything but more cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum).

Sept. 17 from Montana. Bozeman Chonicle. “Area closures lifted after fires peter out.”
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Here in SE Idaho today I drove 40 miles over to the Deep Creek Range to see the aftermath of the Rockland Fire. It was completely out and all the fire fighters gone, even though it was burning a week ago.

rockland-fire-after1.jpg
This is near the north end of the burn. They pretty well painted the mountain
with fire retardant. I don’t think this will be a damaging burn unless a lot of cheat-
grass invades. The mountains are very steep and rocky. Firelines like the one
cut up the slope in the photo can become a magnet for thoughtless off-road
vehicle riders. There are one of worst offenders in spreading weeds.
Photo Copyright © Ralph Maughan


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