Forests going up in flames


MCT Campus

FLEE. This picture was taken in the previous years of forest fires that Montana is frequently victim to. The drought and dry land makes the forest fire spread even more. “The period from July to August was the hottest and driest on record in Montana, and our fire season started about a month earlier than it usually does,” said fire information officer Angela Wells, according to The New York Times.

Allyson Bonhaus, Feature Chief

As hurricanes destroy the Southeast, around 1.5 million acres are on fire in the Northwest since the beginning of the Montana fire. Much of the burning land is National Forests and in Lola Peak. Many wildfires are burning in the Northwest with ones still burning which started naturally in mid-July and August.

The wildfire is expected to be contained by the beginning of October, and as of September 12, less than 50 percent has been contained. Earlier on, there were almost 2,000 structures threatened, but the number has gone down since containment was organized.

The middle and southwestern part of Montana is mostly under the blaze, and the ash and smoke are affecting Washington (state), Oregon, and Idaho. Nine firefighters have died, and 26,000 more are fighting the blaze.

“Lives have been lost by brave firefighters, and livelihoods are under threat. But the encouraging thing to see is Montanans coming together to help each other, because that’s the Montana way,” said Amber Conger, according to The New York Times.

Montana has been forced to spend over 50 million dollars trying to protect their state. Homes were lost, vacation spots are in wreckage, and everything is shrouded by the smoke and ash.

Some areas were allowed to be repopulated, but around two areas are still being warned to evacuate. The number of structures threatened has gone down significantly since the beginning of the fire, but some residents are still under evacuation warnings.

“At noon on Tuesday (September 12) the resources assigned to the fire, in addition to numerous fire engines, are one National Guard Blackhawk helicopter, one Air Attack, and a Single Engine Air Tanker is ordered,” according to Wildfire Today.

Students and staff can help by contacting the state’s’ Fire and Drought Assistance Hotline. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is helping to get assistance to Montana.

“The grants [from FEMA] can help with expenses for fire camps, equipment, tools, materials and supplies. They do not help individual home or business owners or infrastructure damage,” according to Billings Gazette.

For more on the areas threatened, click here.