It’s a smokey, rainy morning here in Missoula. After over three weeks without a computer (well, if you don’t count borrowing the wife’s computer at 5 minute intervals) due to a fairly significant hard-drive crash I’m back in the game, which I’m sure will be of great joy to some people.
Before the hard-drive crash I couldn’t even have dreamed of running something like ‘google earth’ on my computer. But my tech guy has this computer running better than new, so I spent some time on ‘google earth’ this morning. Really, it was Derek W who put the idea in my head, as a comment from him elsewhere on the blog mentioned that the area burned by the West Mullan fire near Superior, MT was now ‘refreshed’ on ‘google earth.’
So at the top of this post is an image of the landscape that’s now burning as part of the Lolo Creek Complex wildfire. I put quite a bit of information in the caption above, including the fact that Plum Creek Timber Company owns almost all the land in the image, so I won’t repeat it here, except to again ask an honest question:
If we could turn back the clock to pre-Lolo Creek Complex what specific land management activities would you recommend in this landscape in terms of restoring the forest, addressing any “fuels” concerns and/or protecting the homes and neighborhoods from the inevitability of wildfire?
Like I said, this is an honest question, especially in the context of all the debates and discussions we’ve had on this blog about the need to “do something” regarding forest restoration or dealing with “fuels” or protecting homes and communities from wildfire.
To date, according to the official Inciwb report on the fire, 9504 acres have burned. Of that 83% is private land, the vast majority of which is owned by Plum Creek Timber Company. There are currently 652 firefighting personnel on the fire and, according to the Missoulian, some of the firefighting crews are being flown in from as far away as Virgina and Michigan. Additional resources include 9 helicopters, 31 engines, 14 dozers and 9 water tenders.