Lolo Pass has been the site of much history with Indians and Lewis & Clark first bringing attention to this long traveled byway. Unfortunately last summer history was made again when the Lolo Creek Complex fire blew up. Though many homesteads were saved the one above was not. The silent intensity of the snow is quite the counterpoint to the maelstrom that destroyed this home. It was almost 6 months later when I took this picture. There was no apparent effort to even clear the debris and I wondered if the owner had just given up.
For several weeks this fire was the number one fire fighting priority in the US and it became doubly critical when it caused the closure of Lolo Pass (US 12) between Montana and Idaho. Ugly can turn beautiful with a different season.
In some places the fire burned low to the ground – enough to cause this relatively new fence to become something very different.
You can see evidence perhaps of the speed of the fire – only little trees and some low lying branches were torched. With ground forage gone, it’s even more critical to have feed for the ranchers.
This will give you and idea of the feed needed to keep a cattle ranch in business through the winter. With prices hovering around $200 per ton, this scene represents quite an annual investment.