Fire/Smoke Update

We interrupt our Sparkler Updates to give you the scoop on our local fire, the Lolo Peak Fire. It is one of literally dozens burning up Montana right now.

We live in the Bitterroot Valley, which is a long stretch surrounded by mountain ranges (i.e. forests [i.e., fire fuel]) south of Missoula.

On July 15 lightening started the Lolo Peak fire 10 miles southwest of Lolo and the fire has marched on since then. It went north, south, east and west. Helicopters hover over the river, filling buckets and flying over us as we rode on the bike path. The smoke -- OMG. Initially it was only annoying but now it is eerie, oppressive, and literally Unhealthy -- here is an update from this morning:

(Source: http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/)

This is a crappy photo but you can get the idea -- I took it on my way to work yesterday IN THE DAYTIME.

Breathing is not really an optional activity but dog walks, bike rides, hiking, lawn mowing, etc. are and so all that has stopped. Most of us do not have air conditioners but we do have jobs and cannot leave :(

We all worried when Emmy and Dave were evacuated but the fire crews were able to keep houses safe in their area; this is the view from their driveway once they got home.

(Emmy Photo)

 That is way too close for comfort! Heidi has been on various evacuation notices for about two weeks.

This is a map of the fire as of yesterday -- we are the black arrow...

(source: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5375/)

But here is the thing -- fire management is what they do with a wildfire like this, and that means they do their best to keep it away from peeps. In other words, it won't go out until it snows (or a wayward hurricane arrives in Montana)!!! 

I am not worried that our house will burn down but I do expect to be evacuated at some point if the various rain dances, prayers, etc. do not work in time -- the fire is not, after all, just treading water, so to speak. Weather and time will tell the story -- in the meantime, we are living in a giant smoker. YUCK.

On a positive note, the forced cabin fever inside-the-house hell opportunity  means there is plenty of time for Line Combing the two dogs who will be showing soon...

Always Usually a smoky silver suffocating blanket lining!

5 comments

by Anonymous on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 07:26

wow! I would worry about breathing once i stopped worrying about my house. That is drastic smog-ish stuff. Standpoint is just as dark with smoke but they are still making the kids come to school, just no recess etc.

by Kay on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 07:43

We will be doing rain dancing, snow dancing, sleet dancing, whatever will help. Breathe carefully!

by Judy on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 08:33

Mary-Anne, thanks for such a comprehensive update. It helps
put it all in perspective.
Hoping and praying for relief for you all soon.
Keep those combs combing and that wrist in great shape.
Getting ready for the shows may be the only
distraction for a while!

by Mari on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 12:42

Hoping that you all remain safe and that the weather pattern may change to bring some much needed rain.
(and, I will stop complaining that we haven't had more than two sunny days in a row this summer)

by CA HEIDI on Fri, 09/08/2017 - 14:03

I am singing, dancing, praying and pleading for rain. May it come soon, and strong.

~H

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