Web site of Scott McMillion - Journalist, author of Mark of the Grizzly, senior editor of Montana Quarterly

Posts Tagged ‘Conservation’

“Fire School”

By Scott McMillion
Nature Conservancy Magazine
Autumn 2008

The rain has finally stopped, but Ben Renfro is stuck inside on this sunny Florida morning, pushing paper and licking his pencil. He knows he has to do the paperwork — has to, that is, if he wants to set the woods on fire today.

Renfro runs a firetruck for a living, managing a crew for the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville, Oregon, on the dry side of the Cascade Range, where wildfire is no stranger. Over the years, he has learned a thing or two about putting out fires.

But he has traveled to Florida to hone a different set of skills: He’s learning how to start fires and how to make them behave.

Click here to read the entire article.

“The Perfect Storm” First in a Four Part Series about wildfire

By Scott McMillion

Bozeman Daily Chronicle

June 29, 2008

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – It started out dry and then it got drier. The rains stayed away, but the wind showed up in a fury and it stayed mad all summer, puffing out its cheeks over and over again. There was lightning all over the place. An outfitter got careless. So did a woodcutter. By July, the fires took over.

Nearly 800,000 acres – more than a third of the park – burned during the summer of 1988. It seemed like the fires were everywhere. You could count the smoke columns. Two, three, four at a time on some days. Ominous mushroom clouds big enough to create their own weather.

Millions of ancient trees went up like matchsticks and the smoke drifted across the nation. Scorched twigs and pine needles wafted 20,000 feet high in the smoke columns, then fluttered to Earth 100 miles away. Nerves frayed. Tempers exploded.

The summer of 1988 reintroduced America to wildfire. Big fire. Major fire. Unstoppable fire. Fire that hadn’t been seen in decades.

Such fire was no stranger to the continent. From Maine to California, wildfires had destroyed communities and killed thousands of people, burned millions of acres in decades past.

In Wisconsin, the 1871 Peshtigo fires burned nearly 4 million acres and killed 1,500 people.

The Great Burn of 1910 scorched 3 million acres of Montana and Idaho and killed 85 people.

But these horrid memories lived mostly in the distant past, before slurry bombers and helicopters and chain saws, before Smokey the Bear, before television could bring the flames to your home every night. Could these things still happen?

The summer of 1988 showed that they could.

Click here to see the entire story.

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/10/07/special-reports/yellowstone_fires/00yellowstonefires.txt

“Ted Turner Puts his Money where his Heart Is”

By Scott McMillion
Bozeman Daily Chroncile
April 17, 2008
Photography by Erik Petersen
Through his philanthropy and his activism, Ted Turner, at 69, is working on hunger, malaria, global warming, red-cockaded woodpeckers, nuclear annihilation and the volunteer fire department at the tiny town of Alder, Montana. Plus he’s writing a book, skiing at Big Sky and hoping to hear the howl of a wild wolf before he dies.

Click here to read the entire story.

“Fair Game”

By Scott McMillion

Big Sky Journal

Fall, 2007

For me, October is the squinting season, a time to throw my eyes as far as I can, to find little white speckles on a vast sagebrush plain, track them down and make meat of them.

In the process, I’ll become mudded and blooded, dehydrated, scraped up, and wind chapped. It’s something I look forward to every year, right up there with Christmas and the first raft trip of the summer.

“Congruence on the Big Hole”

By Scott McMillion

Montana Quarterly

Fall 2006

Photography by Thomas Lee.

Ranchers, environmentalists and the government forge an ambitious plan to save the grayling’s last habitat in the lower 48 states.

“An Uncommon Prairie Occurrence”

By Scott McMillion

Montana Quarterly

Summer 2005.

The prairie out here eats optimists. Surivors in this climate have learned to hunker down, expect the worst and live like a prickly pear: close to the ground, where you can save your juices. Thorns have a purpose.

Lewis and Clark Caverns

“Wonderground”
Montana Outdoors Magazine, July-August, 2004
By Scott McMillion

This is a story shaped by water in all its forms: tiny drops and rushing torrents and rising vapors, rainstorms that slicken hillsides and droughts that crack them open, gullywashers that uproot trees and ice that can break a stone. It’s about the greatest of floods, and it’s about the warm mist of your own breath.

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