Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wicked Creek Update

According to an article in today's paper, the Wicked Creek fire is now at 19,600 acres. The much smaller Hicks fire is 9 miles to the east, across the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, has been lumped with the Wicked Creek Fire as the Wicked Hicks or WH Fire Complex. Luckily, most of the fire movement seems to be into the wilderness area, where it will be allowed to burn into the fall. For the moment, it is stable - as is the smoke hanging in the Gallatin Valley; we are in our second or third day of 16-hour twilight.

It doesn't look like the fire season will be over any time soon. A fire management officer for the Gallatin National Forest notes that small trees contain less moisture than a kiln-dried 2x4 that you buy at the lumber yard, and the big trees are approaching record lows for moisture. The rivers aren't going to help, either: the Yellowstone River is at record low flows, matching levels last seen in the Dust Bowl years, and most streams in Montana have at least some restrictions on fishing due to low water levels. Even the dirt is dry: 86% of topsoil is short or very short of moisture. I guess I'll just have to get used to the smoke.

No comments: