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Richard Manning lives in and writes about Western Montana. Here's an excerpt of the article he wrote about recent wildfires in our area, causes and what we humans can and can't do about them. Go to http://www.onearth.org/article/our-trial-by-fire for the complete article.

dsoehren



Our Trial By Fire from onearth.org

ISSUE: Winter 2008, feature stories

"It's the most successful resource program the northern region has," says George Weldon, deputy director for fire, aviation, and air in the Forest Service's Northern Region, the agency's top fire guy in Montana and northern Idaho...............

On July 6, 2007, the temperature in Missoula reached 107, the highest ever recorded there. The daily average high for the month was 96.5 degrees, 12.9 degrees above normal. Throughout western Montana, July 2007 was the hottest month on record. Total rainfall was 0.03 inch. The first half of August was almost as bad, leaving live trees holding less moisture than kiln-dried lumber. "Once these fires get started we don't have all that much influence over them," Weldon says.........