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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Flames on the Plains

It seems like yesterday I was writing about the intense fires in Central Kansas known as the Starbuck Fire and the year before that it was the Anderson Creek Fire, but those were in April.

Picture taken by Tammy Shawver of Eli Murnion helping neighbors.  All other pictures were taken by Eli himself.

Today, it is the Lodgpole Complex of fires.  There are FOUR separate fires burning that started due to dry lightning strikes.
Map from the Garfield County Rural Fire Department Facebook Page.
These fires have occurred where few people live.  I mean everyone keeps saying that it is near Jordan, Montana.  Jordan has a population of 343 people according to Wikipedia.  That is not a town that handle an influx of volunteers to fight a fire easily.  I know when the fires were raging this spring, the towns had a hard keeping up with supplies especially fuel and food.  

I have never been to Montana, but my friend Tracy has and she shared some amazing pictures of the scenery at the bottom of this post called It's a Wrap.  Tracy was also an amazing resource today as I attempted to get permission to share the pictures in this post.

We in rural America have learned over the years that when they are few people involved, the media tends to not cover the events as fully as those near cities.  This is a fire that is nearly 300,000 ACRES!!  THAT IS HUGE!  Ranches have been completely wiped out. Unlike the Kansas fires which occurred earlier in the spring, there isn't anything green for the cattle to graze or wait out the fire in safety.  April fires in Kansas meant that there were scattered wheat fields for safety of animals and people.  July fires in Montana in the middle of a drought means everything is dry, mature and extremely flammable. 

These ranchers need help.  We know government assistance is going to take time, but those surviving cows can't wait for the government.  They need something to eat yesterday. The cowboys, horses and dogs need a break.  I had so many friends including my own husband who went to help friends during the fires in Kansas.  They need someone to run a feed truck, to help gather supplies and hopefully tell hay trucks where to unload hay.  

If you don't have hay to donate, you can always donate money to buy hay, to buy fuel for the trucks hauling hay or to buy meals for the truck drivers who often donate their time to get hay where it is needed.  We had friends who donated much to all of the above.  

Dawn Haughian contacted me today with a list of things they need. Below is the list she sent me and another avenue is to go to the Montana Stockgrowers Association who has a fund set up to help in times like this. This Spring I remember Zeorian Harvesting sharing lists of things that could be purchased online and picked up at a local store.  I noticed on this list that one of the local stores is willing to take credit card donations to help people pay for supplies and to help feed volunteers.  

This isn't going to be easy for the area to recover.  Many producers had already been selling cows due to the fact that there wasn't the grass to feed them that they needed before the fire.


***It is essential to call before coming to the fire to aid in suppression efforts. We are only accepting these volunteers from a limited basis and highly experienced individuals.***

· TEXT Anne Miller with name, experience and contact info: 406-853-3610


· Jana Hance, Redwater Valley Bank: 406-485-4782

Call Jana and let her know what you have to donate OR what you need.

· Miles City – Bart Meged 406-951-3005 & Misty Meged 406-951-4840

FENCING DONATIONS (Labor and Materials):

**If dropping off, please call ahead!!**

· Sand Springs drop-off and volunteer coordination: Call/Text Travis Brown at 406-671-8088.

· Jordan drop-off: Please go to Lammers Brothers on the 97 Highway 200 East North side of Jordan 406-557-2356. Please call ahead during business hours to arrange

FOOD/FIRST AID/PERSONAL DONATIONS: (Recommended: On the go foods, travel size toiletries, fruits)

· Jeana Stanton 406-230-2217

· Sherlie Hains 406-230-1672

· Ryan’s Grocery in Jordan. Also accepting credit card donations over the phone 406-557-2744


Checks can be made to Garfield County Fire Foundation c/o Garfield County Bank PO Box 6, Jordan, MT 59337 (406-557-2201) or send to Circle c/o Redwater Valley Bank, PO Box 60, Circle, MT 59215 (406-485-4782). NOTE: Applications for Short term and long term funds can be made to Garfield County Fire Foundation and will be distributed by their board. Call the Garfield County Bank for more info.

· Cash and credit card donations for fuel are accepted at Farmers Union Oil / Cenex in Jordan at 406-557-2215

· Cash and credit card donations are accepted at the Sand Springs Store 3198 Highway 200W (Sandy Gibson - 406-557-6144)
· Cash and credit card donations for fuel are accepted in Winnett at 221 W Main St. (Beth Hoverson)


**Please have drop-offs occur between 9am and 5pm**

· Jordan: VFW Hall

· Sand Springs: Sand Springs Store (Sandy Gibson) 30 miles west of Jordan on Hwy 200. **Small Drop-offs Only**

· Winnett: B&D Gas Station 221 W Main St. (Beth Hoverson)


· Baker: DES Alycia Conroy

· Big Timber: Sweet Grass County Fairgrounds – 7/26-7/28 (Lydia Sargent 406-223-0688)

· Billings:

o Joy Global at 1124 main Street. Drop-off between 6:30am and 4:00pm. (Gerard Murnion406-200-5511)

o NILE office Metra – Sending horse trailer load

o Western Ag Reporter accepting donations as well (Contact Linda Grosskopf)

o Supplies accepted at Border Steele 406-377-4398 or 1-800-423-5219

· Bozeman: KB Building Supply shop at 8256 Huffine Lane.

· Bridger: Town and Country Supply Crystal 406-662-3623

· Circle:

o Circle Sherriff Office


o Ryan Ketchum Trucking gathering pallets of barbed wired, bundles of steels & ties, water tanks, also collecting money to purchase supplies. He is coordinating with the following businesses to come pickup in those towns and deliver to Jordon. Contact Ryan Ketchum 406-853-1131 or Erin at 406-974-2059.

· Forsyth: Rosebud County Sherriff Office

· Glasgow: Haylie Shipp – 406-853-0483

· Glendive:

o AgPro Solutions 1028 N. Anderson, Jesse at 406-939-3088

o Border Steele 406-377-4398 or 1-800-423-5219

· Grass Range: Little Montana Truck Stop

· Joliet: Copper Willow Salon, Jasper at 406-647-9879

· Lewistown: Fergus County 4-H Ambassadors are accepting donations at the Central Montana Fair contact Jennifer at 406-366-1677

· Miles City:

o Miles City Livestock – 406-234-1790

o Murdoch's is offering discounts on fencing supplies and gathering donations and coordinating delivery (Call Linda Hardwood 406-232-3422)

o Ace Hardware

o Cowtown Ag

· Sidney:

o Sidney Livestock (7/24 only)

o Reynolds Market

· Scobey:

o Farver Farms north of town 406-783-7113

o Reeverts Fencing LLC: 406-487-2362 accepting monetary donations for fencing supplies by phone

Northern Ag Note:

It is essential that you contact the team leads above before showing up to help or donate.

Donation collection points will continue to be updated. To supply additions or changes to this information please contact Courtney Brown Kibblewhite at (406-698-6932).

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