Heavy, wet snow hung on in the high country and soaked larger downed timber. A map of Montana shows most of the state’s 1,000-hour fuels — dead timber 3 to 8 inches in diameter — at normal when compared with the past 30 years of data. The exceptions are portions of the central and northwestern areas of the state, where moisture is below normal, and parts of southeastern Montana, where moisture in 1,000-hour fuels is above normal. According to National Interagency Fire Center data, in 2009 Montana as a whole had 1,731 wildland fires that burned almost 49,000 acres. Last year, the state saw 1,050 starts that burned 56,700 acres. Those figures are about a third of what burned in the state in 2008, when 1,421 wildland fires burned 166,840 acres.Going to the Sun Highway on the way to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park is experiencing its second-latest opening in its 78-year history. The Missoulian sez:
When Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright visited Logan Pass this week, he stood atop the Big Drift, a colossal snow bank on the Continental Divide. Cartwright was perched roughly 30 feet above the asphalt, and said such abundant snow at this time of year is unprecedented.
Wyoming is experiencing similar conditions while Colorado and the other four corner states are seeing more fires as a result of the 'decoupling' caused by changes in global climate.
A chunk of asteroid just flew within 7500 miles of Earth. Why is there no mechanism to give immediate pursuit with a robotic spacecraft? Metals are fetching incredible prices. Compel the Canadians who want to mine rare earth minerals in the Black Hills give a hefty portion of their proceeds to develop the technology to mine off-world.
A South Dakota blogger tipped us off to a protest today in the Montana Capitol. The Billings Gazette reported this:
Gov. Brian Schweitzer met with roughly 70 pipeline protesters who occupied his office Tuesday and demanded he renounce his support for a new pipeline project. Schweitzer told the group he would not cede to their demands. They then started playing the piano and dancing on the big table in the governor's reception room in apparent frustration with the direction of the meeting. A spokesman said the protest was the culmination of an Earth First! rally near the Montana/Idaho border in the Lolo National Forest.Schweitzer was interviewed today on NPR's All Things Considered.