Montana: Fires Foil Travel Plans

Here’s a video of from rcrcmt on YouTube posted a few days ago that shows what the fires we saw along I-90 looked like and includes commentary and firefighting action. This is what is changing travel plans in many parts of Montana.

Yesterday, our last full day in Montana, we were supposed to be at Holland Lake. The car was packed and we were ready to head out from Philipsburg, but a phone call came from a friend who we were to meet there. She said not to go. Because of the fires, the road was closed. Our friends who were already at the lake could not get out because of the travel restrictions.

Our plans shifted. Instead of heading there, we went on to Missoula. When we drove by Rock Creek Lodge, I craned my neck to see what was happening at the Testicle Festival. I didn’t see anyone, but I did see the tower set up for the Wet T-shirt and Hairy Chest contests. No one was around that I could tell. Another friend said the area had been evacuated. I didn’t see any more fires like we saw a few days before across the highway and a mile or so away. We did see a hawk on top of one telephone pole and a bald eagle on another one close to where the land was scorched black.

The smoke smell and overcast sky definitely say something is going on. When I stepped out of a grocery store in Missoula Sunday evening, the smell of smoke was fierce and the sky was light grey. The haze is helped along by the fires. In Philipsburg, there was more trouble with ash. Saturday night the tables we were eating at outside were speckled with it.

I keep thinking how awful this must be for people with breathing problems. We’ve also be thinking about our friends who are stuck at Holland Lake. We almost went up there on Saturday. If we had, we’d be stuck right along with them.

Here’s a Web site InciWeb: Incident Information System that tracks the current fires in Montana and other states. It provides details about how many acres the fires cover and how much of the fires are contained. In Montana not much is under control.