Having A Bad Day? — Try Being in Lolo, MT
Put yourself in these folks' shoes:
Timbre Case and Betsy Milyard are neighbors in the Macintosh development. "It burned within 100 feet of (Betsy's) house," said Case. "We watched propane tanks explode." "We watched the fire come down the hill and get closer and closer to the house," said Milyard.
They said both of their houses are OK. But the women said being evacuated from the fire and not being able to go home is like being in limbo.
"It's hard when you're watching your house be almost burned," said Case, "and people are taking pictures. It's hard." (Source: NBC Montana)
If you’re anywhere in Montana, you’re aware of the Lolo, Montana fire. If, for no other reason, the smoke might blot out the eclipse today.
Over 1,100 residents are evacuating the area. So far, the fire has burned 37,885 acres of forestland.
Let’s put 37,885 acres in a perspective that most all of us can understand. An acre of land is the size of a football field without the end zones.
When you think of 37,885 football fields destroyed for half a generation or more, it begins to hit home.
And this is just one Montana fire. You can check out all the others here.
Currently, the 27 active fires in Montana have burned 475,734 acres — or football fields. The loss of animal life alone is almost too horrible to comprehend.
I’m not sure how many football fields there are in the United States but a quick search on Google returned many results. The highest number mentioned — 24,796 football fields in the US.
When Disaster Strikes
People in Lolo are probably not thinking about an eclipse, or statues, or Korea, or what Donald Trump might be tweeting.
They’re probably selecting what valuables they want to save and which ones they’re going to have to sacrifice and leave behind.
You can’t take the wall with the lines and dates where you measured your kids growing up. Maybe a cell phone picture might work. But it’s not really the same, is it?
The trees you planted as a family will be gone. Sort of puts the value of things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Some Final Thoughts
Bad things too often happen to good people. Reports say the fire was started by a lightning strike, making it a "natural" disaster. That spoonful of sugar doesn't make the reality of losing all you have go down any easier.
Montana fires are a way of life for us. Each year we know they’re coming and we hope we have the resources to control them and save lives and property. But sometimes only the winter snows are able to accomplish what all the king's horses and all the king's men can’t. Only nature can restore what's lost.