7/18/17 Goat Creek Lightning Strike

How do I start…it seems this year has been filled with one thing after another.  I guess I’ll start with fire, and tomorrow go from there.

To squash any rumors stating otherwise, the upper Clark Fork down to Rock Creek and Silverbow Creek are the only sections of water on hoot owl restrictions in place at this time…with regard to Rock Creek, the Lolo National Forest has closed Rock Creek and adjoining trail systems to all recreating due to the fires. If you have a cabin reserved, and it is stream side, you can access the stream from the private property – yes, this is lawful and allowed. Also, the upper end of Rock Creek from Gilles Bridge up to and including the forks is open. No portion of Rock Creek has hoot owl restrictions on it.
With regard to cabins, and the road closure. If you have a reservation your name is already at the check point, along with the cabin you are staying in and the dates you will be here.
Next question – when will the road be re-opened? Right now there is still fire actively burning in our valley, and in fact between just past mile 7.5 to Brewster Creek. That includes the area behind our house/store. Yes, it has been stressful – so, if I come off as ‘curt’ on the phone, please understand. But to get back to the question about the road. Last week we were told (when asked) that when they feel confident that they have secured the valley and steered the fire completely to the East, the road will be opened back up. Right now there are engines, trucks, SUV’s, cars, helicopters, retardant planes and firefighters everywhere.
The next couple days will be telling…we’re supposed to see a one day cool-off on Wednesday, but winds and dry thunder storms tomorrow and temps back in the upper 90’s again Thursday and beyond for the foreseeable future. Up to this point, we have been spared all predicted winds and additional lightning storms. The hope is that the South flank (Brewster Creek) can be held…and for those of you that pray, I ask that you join us in praying that it WILL be held, and that the fire bosses will be given wisdom in their planning.
If a fire could be textbook, this one has been. Even though it has been actively burning behind us for several days, we have never felt threatened or as though we needed to get outta Dodge. Today the hotshots did a back burn behind our neighbors to the North. Tonight I went over and was once again amazed at how precisely they were able to execute fire next to a field of grass and get it to go up the mountain instead of into the grass. I am truly amazed. Tonight they will finish that burn-off and tomorrow they may burn the NE corner of our place to tie into what they did today. They are doing this, even though the fire has burned behind us, because they want to prevent anything from deciding to flare up in the areas that didn’t burn naturally.
So, as of this morning, the Goat Creek Fire – which is part of the #SapphireComplex – was over 6,000 acres. Along Rock Creek Road, you will see half of Babcock Mountain was burned and it continues on to Brewster Creek. Is it devastated? No! There are areas that have burned very hot, and other areas that it merely burned the underbrush and grass. Next year will probably look awful because of the trees we did lose, but when I look across the valley from my house, I am reminded of 2007 when the mountain on that side burned – and today you wouldn’t know it.
This past almost 2 weeks have been long, and stress-filled. But, there are many others that have endured fires much worse than this and lost much more than business. We are very fortunate and thankful.
I wish I could answer ‘timeline’ questions – but just like when someone asks me in January how the fishing is going to be in August, I’m just not that clairvoyant. We’re taking one day at a time here, and trusting that God has placed these firefighters here with the ability they need to do the job they have been called to do. Today the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34 really hit home…
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Until tomorrow…
Deb & Joe