MTPR

Dick Mangan

West Fork firefighter serving as a lookout for Hotshot crews working below on the Nelson Creek fire.
Inciweb

Both state and federal governments have spent a combined $378 million this year battling blazes.

This was the most expensive fire season in Montana since at least 1999, when adjusted for inflation. Montanans may need to prepare for similar wildfire seasons in the future. 

Dan and Michelle Schurg show how close the Lolo Peak Fire got to their home in the Folsom Road neighborhood near Florence.
Mike Albans

This fire season has seen numerous evacuation orders across Montana, but some people choose to stay, saying they want to be present to defend their homes. Among them were Dan and Michelle Schurg.

In the wee hours of August 17, The Lolo Peak Fire destroyed two homes in their Florence-area neighborhood. Dan, Michelle and a friend defied a mandatory evacuation order to defend the Schurg home in the upper reaches of the Folsom Road area. 

Jackie Stermitz looks over the remains of her Florence area home, which burned in the Lolo Peak Fire on August 17, 2017.
Mike Albans

"I don’t know where it was, but the other day I saw one of my mother’s silver cups," says Jackie Stermitz.

"I see a cup over there! Ohhh – I’d almost rather not see this stuff, to be honest, because it’s all broken up."

Jackie Stermitz spent seven years in her home that was built into the hillside in the upper reaches of the Macintosh Manor subdivision near Florence. On August 17, the raging Lolo Peak fire reduced it and a neighbor’s home to rubble.

Montana Wildland-Urban Interface Parcels
Montana DNRC

The summer fire season is just around the corner, and a lifelong Montana firefighter says lots of homes in the area are at risk.

Wildland Firefighters working on fire line on the West Fork Fish Creek Fire in 2015.
Inciweb

Montana wildfire experts have peered into their crystal ball, and they like what they’re seeing.