©1999 Wolff Den Design - Lady Wolf - Ralph Maughans Wildlife Reports

Conservation News Story Archive July-August 2000


Date Articles
8-31-2000 Loggers seize on fires to argue for more cutting. They are wrong. USA Today.

Evacuation Lifted: Beaver Creek Fire no Longer Threatens Gallatin Canyon. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Rain is predicted this weekend. Is the fire season drawing to a close?

Moderate rainfall slows fires in western Wyoming. Billings Gazette.

Idaho Requests Federal Disaster Aid. Idaho Statesman by Rocky Barker. Montana was granted this status yesterday. Now Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne has made the request due to the wildfires.

8-30-2000 Those Weird Fire Names have Some Logic Behind Them. Missoulian

Progress Made on Red Lodge [MT] Fires. Missoulian.

Possibility of rainfall offers hope: Montana's governor asks Clinton to declare state a federal disaster area. By Becky Bohrer. The Idaho Statesman. Note: the President granted the request.

8-29-2000 Biologists losing battle to save dwindling mountain caribou: Herd count is lowest since 1984 listing as endangered species. Spokane Spokesman Review. It looks like the last herd of mountain caribou in the United States is spiraling toward extinction. The Idaho/British Columbia herd is down to just 34 animals and the mountain caribou (not to be confused with the barren ground caribou) is not doing well in British Columbia either.

Cooler Weather helps firefighters near Bozeman and in Yellowstone. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

261,000 acre Bitterroot Fire is the Biggest in the Nation. Missoulian. Big fires like this create their own weather.

8-27-2000. Amid new fires, a renaissance at Yellowstone by George Myers Jr. The Columbus Dispatch.

8-28-2000  Wildlfires near Red Lodge, Mt Forces new Montana Evacuations. "Confronted by a fast-moving wildfire, hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate their homes in Red Lodge, a resort community in south-central Montana near the Wyoming border. Officials are evaluating whether it will be necessary to clear out the entire town of nearly 1,900."

Salmon [Idaho] under siege: Fire, smoke take their toll on town's future. By Tim Woodward The Idaho Statesman. This may strike some people as an odd comment, but I think the best thing that could be done in Salmon, and Bitterroot, Montana areas after the fires is to some how ensure that alien weeds, like yellow starthistle and spotted knapweed do not invade the burns as they have the lower elevations of these locales.. If not, the forest will probably not regrow well, the grass will not regrow, and there will be little recreation, wildlife, grazing, or timber.

Smoke begins to clear in Jackson, WY. Billings Gazette. Cool weather and rain-producing thunderstorms are finally helping get the Wyoming fires under control. The same is true in Eastern Idaho. This weekend Jackie and I encountered something we hadn't seen for a long time while we were backpacking in the Caribou Range of Eastern Idaho -- mud! and heavy, lasting rain, without much lightning in it.  Sadly the same is not true in central Idaho or Montana.

Firestorm hits the famous Flying B Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Missoulian by Sherry Devilin. Amazingly no one was killed.



 Cheney says Bush Administration could undue the national monuments. Salt Lake Tribune. This is of course true, but his statement reminded people of this and gives greater urgency to the election.

Cheney: Monuments could be rescinded Candidate says Clinton acted without local input By Joseph B. Frazier. Idaho Statesman. The word "local input" of course is code meaning the nearest anti-environmentalists.

Idaho T-storms help fire fighters, but also start 25 new fires. Idaho Statesman. There were many thunderstorms in Idaho Thursday (and more today) Friday. They left mixed results.

Clinton sending more troops to help tame raging Western wildfires. CNN.

Duck Creek, immediately adjacent to Yellowstone Park, is saved again. Greater Yellowstone Coalition.


8-24-00 Worst of Missoula. Missoula Independent by BLAKE de PASTINO & KEN PICARD. This is satiric opinion. "Worst of Missoula: For anyone who lives here, it’d be a breeze to come up with a quick list of what makes western Montana great—what works, what’s smart, what we’re thankful for. And it’s probably just as easy to tick off a litany of things that we’d like to change—especially after this particularly difficult summer. But what about the less obvious problems? What about the subtler threats to our environment, our economy, our civic health? This week, the Independent brings back its annual examination, the Worst of Missoula, to help cull out some of the region’s most incorrigible dullards. Stupid ideas, regrettable trends, dangerous places, unaccountable politicians—they’re all here. Some of them you may have heard of; many of them you haven’t. Some are unforgivable, others merely irritating. Together, they make up just a small sampling of what keeps western Montana from being truly perfect. We’re calling them out and sending them to sit in the corner. Try not to encourage them."

Yellowstone Park fires increase slightly. Park news release.

Warning. Monica Plays with Matches. Writers on the Range by Ben Long. The forest fires are ripe for cynical political exploitation.

The Politics of Forest Fires by Tom Power. Dr. Power is one of the most savy economists I have ever met. 

8-23-00 Woman dead, two burned in Yellowstone's worst hot spring tragedy. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.
8-24-00 Park workers leaped into the hot pool by Michael Milstein. Billings Gazette.
8-24-00. Trio Jumped Into Spring Deliberately by KEVIN CANTERA and MICHAEL VIGH. Salt Lake Tribune.

Canadian Firefighters help on Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Missoulian by Sherry Devlin.

Experts Fear the Worst is Yet to Come by Ginny Merriam of the Missoulian. Indeed, the forecast for today is warmer with dry lightning, the first lightning in a week.

Idaho Panhandle Mostly Spared of Fires So Far. Spokane Spokesman-Review.


8-22-00 Almost all Public Lands in Montana closed due fire danger. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Heidi Hagemeier. As of today folks will no longer be allowed of enter most the national forests, BLM, or Montana state lands due to the most extreme level of fire danger -- level V.

Millionaire's community near Big Sky vows to fight fires on its own, if necessary. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Tom Lutey.

Fire Shift Saves Atlanta, Idaho. Idaho Statesman By Shannon Lafferty, but Idaho Fires Continue to Spread. Idaho Statesman.

Wyoming: Many Vacation Plans go up in Smoke. Billings Gazette.

Montana: Yellowstone, other area streams approach record low-water levels By LORNA THACKERAY. Billings Gazette.


8-21-00 This morning the South Entrance to Yellowstone Park was reopened.

Slow burn: Beaver Creek blaze growing faster on maps than ground. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

8-20 Beaver Creek fires advances toward the Gallatin. Mandatory Evacuation of three ranches. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The fire is now 5100 acres. Folks are afraid it will burn down the Gallatin River near the NW corner of Yellowstone and on toward Big Sky.

8-20-00 Will the 2000 fires end as they did in great fires of 1910?  More and more folks are talking about it. Here are three articles.

Article from the Missoulian by Sherry Devlin. "The 'big blowup' of 1910 burned 3 million acres of forest in western Montana and northern Idaho, and shaped much of the modern fire suppression effort."

8-21-00 Menace in Waiting by Sherry Devlin. Missoulian.  "After the historic fires of 1910, policies designed to protect forests produced thicker timber stands that burn bigger and hotter when wildfire strikes. 8-21. The view from Lick Creek: a century of photos shows the transition to a more flammable forest. Missoulian. Is this photo series a misrepresentation? "Yes," says Swan View coalition. Ponderosa Poster Child 548 k pdf file.

8-22-00. Intense blazes of 2000 may be wake-up call to return fire to forests by Sherry Devlin. Missoulian.

Article from the Idaho Statesman by Rocky Barker. "Ninety years ago today, hurricane-force winds whipped forest fires in Idaho and Montana through an area larger than Connecticut and killed 85 people. Federal fire experts say it could happen again, this year."

Article from the New York Times. Why Foresters Prefer to Fight Fire With Fire By TIMOTHY EGAN.

Eureka, Montana (next to the B.C. border) evacuated as fires approach. Missoulian. Due to cooler weather this evacuation was put on hold Monday. 

Yellowstone Park fire update 8-20. Park News Release.


8-19-00 Sawmills silenced by low lumber prices. Spokane Spokesman-Review. 

Fires couldn't have come at a better time for laid-off mill workers. Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Maudlow-Toston fire does about-face. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This is a huge rangeland fire near Bozeman. Everyone needs to know that the fires are not just forest fires.The range fires can be bigger, faster, and more deadly.

Atlanta (Idaho) Residents Prepare for the worst as flames draw near. Idaho Statesman. This new and rapidly expanding fire is just SW of the famed Sawtooth Wilderness in south central Idaho. Atlanta is a small backcountry town.

8-20-00. Winds push fire to edge of Atlanta (ID). Blazes continue to start, spread across the West. Idaho Statesman. The fire was spotting a mile downwind yesterday, 8-19.

Yellowstone Park fire update 8-19. Park News Release.


8-18-2000 Geologists pondering significance of recent swarm of Yellowstone quakes. Billings Gazette.

Montana fires have affected big game habits. By Perry Baucus The Montana Standard. Undoubtedly, the same is true in Idaho. I noticed an explosion of berries this year during the drought. I noticed the same in the doubt and fire year of 1988.

Yellowstone Park fire update 8-18. Park News Release.


8-17-2000 Fires close 2.4 million acre Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness to human entry by Pete Zimowsky and Tim Woodward. The Idaho Statesman.

Yellowstone Park fire news. There wasn't much fire news, but things are heating up. Park New Release of 8-14-. The biggest Yellowstone fire is the 150 acre Unlucky fire in Bechler Area (SW Corner). The SW corner of the Park escaped the fires of 1988.

Sadly Beaver Creek and Sage Basin 10 miles NW of the Park have burned. This is very important grizzly bear country. As a result of this 3500 acre fire, the Taylor-Hilgard Unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness is now closed to human entry. 

The new Glade Creek fire between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks has caused evacuation of Flagg Ranch and closure of the Grassy Lake Road. There is a 2000 acre fire burning near Enos Creek in the middle of the Teton Wilderness -- part of the area my new Falconguide covers. 8-18. The Glade Fire has grown from 200 acres to 2000 acres and is now burning northward into Yellowstone Park. The South entrance road is still closed. The Star-Tribune reported the fire was close to "getting out of hand."

Latest: South Entrance to Yellowstone closed due to fire danger. Apparently dry lightning is making fires in the SW corner and just south of Yellowstone take off.

Check out the Idaho visible satellite map. The bright white are clouds. The dimmer white from central Idaho and northeastward into Montana is the pervasive smoke in Idaho and Montana. 


8-10-2000 Montana Governor Declares Millions of Acres Near Wildfires off Limits CNN


8-8-2000 President to stop in Idaho today to see fires. Idaho Statesman by Gregory Hahn

Smoke but no wildfire; popular drainage closed. Billings Gazette

Bridger-Teton fires mostly under control. Billings Gazette

Utah Fires Straining Resources Nesreen Kahshan Salt Lake Tribune.


8-7-2000 U.S. wildfires threaten drinking water, wildlife habitat. CNN


8-4-2000 Forest Service chief gets look at Idaho fires. Dombeck calls U.S. firefighters 'best in world' Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker and Jeff McKinnie.

Rain barely slows wildfire near Jackson. Billings Gazette. 

Hundreds evacuated as fires rage over thousands of acres of Montana. Billings Gazette. US 93 between Darby, MT and the Idaho border is closed. US 12 into Idaho is also closed.

Utah Wildfires Keep Crews On the Move Friday by Nesreen Kahshan and Brent Israelsen. Salt Lake Tribune.


8-3-2000 200 evacuated as fire burns in Gros Ventre Mountains SE of Jackson, WY. Billlings Gazette. This fire is on the southwest side of the Gros Ventre Range (not in the territory of the Gros Ventre wolf pack). It is still burning as of Aug. 17.

Evacuations ordered in Bitterroot Valley as 92 fires scorch area. Missoulian. Update: due to fires the Anaconda-Pintlar wilderness has just been closed.

Dry weather fuels record wildfires in U.S. CNN 8-2-2000


8-1-2000 Montana national guard called up to fight Canyon Ferry Fire east of Helena. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Joan Haines. 8-3-2000 This fire has calmed down a bit. 


7-31-2000 Students spend summer tracking wolves [in Sunlight Basin area east of Yellowstone]. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein.


7-26-2000 Conservation bill (CARA) passes key Senate Committee. Billings Gazette. The bill has passed the House. Maybe it can beat the inevitable Senate filibuster from Conrad Burns, Larry Craig, and the like. Idaho's two US Senators are opposing CARA despite CARA's support from Idaho's Republican Governor Dirk Kempthorne. Even Montana Governor Racicot supports it.


7-26-2000 Is Cheney a plus for the West? Billings Gazette.


7-24-2000 Wolf shows up in the St. Joe Valley of northern Idaho. The usual alarm is reported. Spokane Spokesman Review. This is now the most northerly known wolf in Idaho. July 29. Story on the new wolf pack in the Oregonian. Wolf B48M is part of the new pack. He dispersed from the Kelly Creek Pack.


7-24-2000 Sierra Club backs Gore for President. New York Times.


7-22-2000 Judge halts logging of old growth Western red cedar on the North Fork of the Clearwater in northern Idaho. Spokane Spokesman Review. This is good news of an area of outstanding beauty, and also good news for anglers. I have also just learned there is probably a new wolf pack in the area. 

News release from the Idaho Conservation League on the victory.


7-21-2000 Sunlight Basin wolves leave cattle herds alone By Michael Milstein. Gazette Wyoming Bureau. There perhaps 20 wolves in the mountains between Yellowstone Park and Cody now, including famous no. 9F. So far the wolves have left the numerous cattle alone.


7-19-2000 Nevada Senator Harry Reid Saves National Parks from Snowmobiles. Las Vegas Sun. 7-20 New York Times editorial suggests snowmobile senators will try again using undemocratic methods--adding snowmobile language in the conference report even though both chambers in Congress rejected it.


7-19-2000 Sad News: Snake River Dams to Stay. Oregonian. This means Idaho salmon and steelhead runs will limp along with some additional runs probably becoming extinct while the government spends billions on additional marginal efforts to help the fish. The dead hand of past pork barrel politicians will prevail for at least another decade. 

7-20-2000 White House to Delay a Decision on Breaching Dams in Northwest to Save Fish By Douglas Jehl. New York Times. The decision is likely to hurt Gore and boost Nader in critical northwest states. G.W. Bush is strongly against breaching the dams. Gore has remained silent.


7-18-2000 President wins again on national monuments. Deseret News. After easily being sustained in the House, the President's power to declare national monuments remained intact in the Senate by ju

st one vote. Proponents of allowing snowmobiles in national parks also lost.


7-17-2000 Snowmobilers receive stiff fine for egregious violations of Beartooth Wilderness area. Missoulian. Original story from last spring (April 8). Missoulian. Accused snowmobilers to appear in Missoula: Wyoming snowmobilers allegedly removed wilderness boundary signs.


7-17-2000 Jackson, WY area rancher takes "non-use" on grazing allotment due to forest fire and the Gros Ventre wolf pack. Billings Gazette. Last summer the 5-member Gros Ventre wolf pack summered on this allotment, and killed no cattle despite a large number of cows present. It did feed on two dead cows. This summer, the pack, now numbering ten, is in the area again. Moreover, a June forest fire burned part of the allotment. The rancher is taking "non-use" of the allotment. This is a good temporary solution, but Forest Service rules actually require that non-use can't be taken more than two years in a row or the rancher's allotment is given to another grazer, a real anachronism.


7-15-2000 Judge: Cattle must be moved: BLM order that ranchers must remove cattle from rangeland stands up in court. Spokane Spokesman Review. These ranchers actually tried to argue that cattle trampling stream banks made the streams narrower and deeper!


7-9-2000 Pains of electricity deregulation in Montana. Missoulian. It is interesting how Montanans got the shaft in this, and more amazing still how the politicians responsible are getting away with it. I would trust the word of Public Service Commissioner Bob Anderson, who helped found the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, far more than Montana politicians who sold out to industry or who are angling for a job with George W., like bison-killer governor Marc Racicot.

Added 7-18-2000. A Shock to the System: How utility deregulation became a statewide disaster. by GEORGE OCHENSKI. Missoula Independent. Another view of the fast one Montana legislators pulled on the public.



Senator Craig's Plan to Quash the Roadless Initiative to come Before US Senate next week. Oregonian. Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to oppose Craig's efforts to stop the conservation opportunity of a generation.

7-18-2000. Thanks for your messages. Craig withdrew his proposed amendment saying he didn't want to mess up to litigation against the roadless initiative that is in the works. Others say he just didn't have the votes, thanks to outraged Americans.


7-4-2000 June 22, 2000. Has the great Jarbidge, NV dirt road controversy been defused? Las Vegas Sun. The Fourth of July road improvement rally may or may not still be on.  A deal has been announced. 10,000 people with shovels are supposed to show up at Jarbidge, NV to rebuild a dirt road that washed out and the Forest Service won't let confrontational Elko County fix. There are many past stories on this on the archives.   
  • June 30. No, the rally is proceeding. Problems feared as thousands descend on tiny Nevada town By Greg Tuttle Las Vegas Sun.  
  • June 30. Here is background from the Christian Science Monitor. Sagebrush rebels grab their shovels. 
  • July 1 Shovel Brigade leaders resign after U.S attorney's stern warning letter. Las Vegas Sun.
  • July 4. Protesters stake claim to remote road in northeastern Nevada By Sandra Chereb. Las Vegas Sun. The turnout was in the hundreds, not 10,000 as predicted earlier. Perhaps a lot of folks decided that federal failure to allow the rebuilding of a remote dirt road was not such a tyrannical act that they would travel hundreds of miles to the protest.
  • July 7. Gibbons, Reid urge Elko County to accept bull trout mediation plan. Las Vegas Sun. 
7-2-2000 ATVs being used in the Dunoir in a new way to disturb wildlife and rip up the land. Billings Gazette.


7-1-2000 Idaho's Two US Senators help Stall popular CARA bill in the U.S. Senate. Idaho Statesman. Senators Craig and Crapo think there is too much federal land in Idaho so they are holding this bill up that would provide vast amounts of conservation money for the entire nation. I just got back from 8 days in central Idaho. On my way back to Pocatello I encountered incredible Fourth of July traffic. Almost all of it seemed to be bound for those "awful" federal lands -- that part of Idaho that will never be subdivided -- those lands Crapo and Craig think are so awful. No one seemed to be looking for private land to camp, hike, or ride on.  No one was looking for those forlorn sections of Idaho state school lands either. Idaho is 62% U.S. public land as compared, for example, to about 36% in Montana.  In my view that makes Idaho about twice as nice as Montana.

Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country

July - August  2000

Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working as some of the sources do not keep archives.  

The comments about each story are mine -- RM

Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports

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