Friday, July 14, 2006

Fire, Fire

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire and your children all gone.
All except one, and that's little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan.

Montana is burning, have you heard? Probably not. You might, however, have heard about the 39,000 acre fire (actually two fires that combined) raging in California's San Bernadino Valley. There are currently seven different fires actively burning in the southeastern portion of Montana, ranging in size from 200 acres to 30,000 acres for a combined total of 65,000 acres. Do you know how much land that is? Consider this: the average home lot in the US is less than 1/4 of an acre. The Billings Gazette reports of one couple alone that lost 6,000 acres.

Why do we learn of wildfires in some states and not others? Not sure. Maybe because of population density, since the endangerment of homes and human lives make a better human interest story. What human interest strikes me about the fires in Montana are the stories of entire communities moving from one ranch or farm to the next to move cattle, shovel and plow fire lines, douse flames with truck mounted water tanks, and light back burns around homes and other structures. The size of your community is not about your proximity to your neighbor, but rather it is as big or as small as your heart and mind will stretch.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Actually the new total of acreage as of Sunday nite is 210,000 acres burning in MT. It is amazing to be in the middle of it. The haze of smoke in Billings is unbelievable. Thanks for noticing that we don't get noticed! Les:)

Kate said...

I finally found a national syndicate that mentioned Montana as one of 'eight other states' experiencing wildfires besides California: