Rain, cold weather suddenly quells many Idaho-Montana wildfires.

Today it is 30 degrees colder than a couple days ago. It has rained widely in Idaho and western Montana. One to 2 inches fell on the massive Derby and Jungle fires south of Big Timber, MT.

It is not supposed to warm up again except just a little and more showers are predicted. The summer fire season is probably over. 8,779,061 acres have burned in the United States so far this year, compared to the 10-year average of 4,963,059 acres.

Nevada, which got little publicity, had the most acreage burned. Folks may say “well they are only range fires,” but range fires are devasting the West. Range fires used to be every 30 to 80 years, but the invasion of cheatgrass over a hundred million acres has altered the fire ecology, greatly favoring fire, and gradually burning out everything but more cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum).

Sept. 17 from Montana. Bozeman Chonicle. “Area closures lifted after fires peter out.”
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Here in SE Idaho today I drove 40 miles over to the Deep Creek Range to see the aftermath of the Rockland Fire. It was completely out and all the fire fighters gone, even though it was burning a week ago.

This is near the north end of the burn. They pretty well painted the mountain
with fire retardant. I don’t think this will be a damaging burn unless a lot of cheat-
grass invades. The mountains are very steep and rocky. Firelines like the one
cut up the slope in the photo can become a magnet for thoughtless off-road
vehicle riders. There are one of worst offenders in spreading weeds.
Photo Copyright © Ralph Maughan

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The terrible ethics in the Bush Department of Interior

I first posted about Bush’s Dept. of Interior being ethically challenged on Sept. 13, but now an editorial from the New York Times makes me think I need to post an update. Read editorial “Interior’s Internal Messes.”

And Time Magazine just weighed in too. Read “Department of Billion-dollar Bungling. How the Interior Department managed to lose about $2 billion of the public’s money. Can this mess be cleaned up?” By Douglas Waller.
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Post from Sept. 13.
In the 19th Century, the Department of Interior (DOI) was often regarded as the “Department of Corruption,” with the General Land Office being the worst division.

It was the location of one of America’s biggest government scandals in Warren Harding Administration — the Teapot Dome Scandal. People went to prison.

Over the years the Department, which houses the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and more, has gained some luster.

Unfortunately, more recently the tarnish has come back, thicker than ever. Now as then, the major location of corruption is oil and gas leasing, now done by the Bureau of Land Management, the successor agency to the old site of scandal, the General Land Office.

And now, the Inspector general of the Department of the Interior, is going to tell a congressional committee about it.

ABC News. The Mess at the Depatment of Interior.

Still more on the escaped domestic elk in Idaho

This is really a big issue. It keeps evolving and more editorials are being written.

“State OKs special hunt for escaped farm elk. Concern over disease prompts decision; hunters and property owners from [Hunting] Unit 64 will do most of the culling.” By Roger Phillips. Read Idaho Statesman article.

Wild Bill:” “Game Farms: Will We Learn Our Lesson Before It Is Too Late? Or Is It Already Too Late?” By Bill Schneider. New West. Bill Schneider, publisher and columnist lives in Montana where the citizens eliminated canned hunts and clamped down on game farms by means of a ballot initiave.

“Game-farm breakout highlights risks.” Missoulian editorial. ‘Summary: Montana clamped down on game farms, but risks persist right across the Idaho line.’ ” Read the full editorial.

Posted in wildlife disease. Comments Off on Still more on the escaped domestic elk in Idaho