View Full Version : Scary out there

2005-08-01, 09:25
I'm getting a little worried about hiking here (Montana) as with the heat everything is drying out and we have been having lightning storms in the afternoons and evenings.
Most of my day hikes are up canyons and if a fire started below me I'd most likely be toast.

In 2000 I watched from across the river as a fire burnt my property and a lot of other peoples. The flames moved faster than a man could run, and left nothing living behind.

When I was able to go up to the land I found that the flames had been so hot that they had left pools of glass and rivers of aluminum.
I lost a travel trailer, 2 ATV, snowmobile, 3 sheds, and other misc.
But the worst part is that I now have no living trees (and the elk keep eating what I plant). :bawling:

Anyway, after watching that, I'm much warier about getting caught in a fire.
--And a lot of our firefighters are in Iraq, so response times are going to be hurt.
It's almost enough to make me stop hiking for awhile. :confused:

2005-08-01, 18:03
Not every kick in the crotch has a silver lining.
You might get more deer though?

What about the lightning itself?
What sort of place should you seek shelter or camp during the storm?
What about hammock camping? Any precautions?

Here is a story about a 14 year olf girl from Maine that was struck and killed on a soccer pitch.
Very little warning. Very informative radio clips from an eye witness and a meteorologist:

2005-08-05, 23:39
Not so sure. Depending on who you ask, I'm either fool hardy or fearless. But as for lightning strikes, they do seem to be on the rise. Some boyscouts got nailed a few days after a group electrocuted themselves putting up a tent under power lines.

Not to drop more horrow stories, but in 1994, a group of soldiers at Ft Jackson were sitting under a tree in the rain and got roasted. I think somewhere around a dozen died. The again, the first sergeant of one of the other companies in my battallion had taken five indiect hits in as many years. Nobody would stand anywhere near him the the rain, but he certainly was, uh, "lucky".

As for fires, I'm not going to worry too much. True the flames move faster than a man can run, but that's at full bore. I see signs of fire, I'm coming off trail. I imagine in most cases, none of would be within "run away distance" from a fire with such momentum. I havn't heard any horror stories about this happening yall know of any I missed?

2005-08-07, 07:58
I hike a lot of canyons and pass trails. If a fire starts below me I have nowhere to run.
In the "horror stories" below most aren't civilian casualities, they're firefighters, but they thought they were a safe distance from the fire too.

August 12, 2003
An Idaho Bitterroot Mountain wildfire claimed the lives of helitack crewmembers Jeff Allen and Shane Heath. According to an article in The Idaho Statesman, the crew had no clue they were in danger until it was too late for them to be saved. The fire actually grew from 220 acres to more than 5,000 acres the day of the fatalities with wind gusts to 20 miles per hour.

July 6, 1994
Storm King Mountain in the South Canyon, near Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The fire spotted back across the drain and beneath the firefighters, moving onto steep slopes. Within seconds, a wall of flame raced up the hill toward the firefighters on the west flank fireline.
Failing to outrun the flames, 12 firefighters perished. Two helitack crew members on top of the ridge also died when they tried to outrun the fire to the northwest.

August 5, 1949
A wildfire overran 16 smokejumpers and firefighters in Mann Gulch on the Helena National Forest in Montana. Only three survived.
(This was a fairly famous story where I grew up in Helena - there was a book and a movie made about it)

The most devastating fire in U.S history in terms of human lives lost was in Peshtigo, Wisconsin in 1871. The fire killed 1,300 people in a single night.