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Montana’s Fire Season – the Worst Since 1910

bear trap fire
The Bear Trap Fire earlier this year. (Ken Harris Photo)
The 2012 forest fire season burned over 1 million acres of Montana land.

The Northern Rockies coordination Center has released figures for the year and it shows Montana had fire on 1,139,837 acres. That’s from a total of 2,128 fires.

A large number of those forest and grassland fires were human-caused – 1,143. The others were lightning-caused – 985. However, the lightning caused fires (many of which were in wilderness areas) burned many more acres – 967,000 acres. Human-caused fires burned 172,700 acres.

The figures include fires on federal, state and private land.

Derek Yeager, fire management officer of the Southern Montana Land Office in Billings, told the Associated Press that more than 80 homes were destroyed by fire (mostly in eastern Montana) and total suppression cost was over $113 million.

He said the fire season burned more acres in Montana than 1910, where over 3 million acres burned in Idaho and western Montana.

In the Bitterroot Valley this year, records were set for number of days without rain and number of days with thick forest fire smoke.

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