Wildfires are natural disasters, not a matter of if, but when. The shame of it is these forests were once our beloved recreation spots and livelihood.
We grew up in the woods hiking, fishing, harvesting firewood, picking berries, mushrooms. As a young child, my sister and I spent many hours making rose petal perfume. The mountains in all their glory mean so much to us, so much that as we drove down the road family members “called out” and “reminisced” the names of the mountains.
Logging sustained us here in beautiful Libby, we were proud of being productive. Generation after generations were taught land stewardship by their parents and grandparents. Family traditions ran deep with respect for our lands. We didn’t litter because grandmother said, “NO!”; Grandfathers said, “Pack it in, pack it out”; your father would ask, “Axe, Bucket and Shovel?” and the kids would holler back, “Check!”
I miss those times that kept us connected. We have been removed from the our forests and our way of life. We no longer have equipment and resources to fight back because our mills are gone, Most of our logging roads are gated and locked or kelly-humped.
Yes, 2017 fires are not just sad they are a horrific waste of resources.