By Rep. Bill Harris
This past year saw devastating wildfires across Montana—but none was so destructive as the Lodgepole Complex fire in Garfield and Petroleum counties. The Lodgepole fire was the largest in the country, ultimately destroying over 270,000 acres and devastating hundreds of families.
Could that destruction have been prevented? That’s a question that we can never answer fully. But one factor that undeniably made this fire worse was where it started.
The Lodgepole fire was sparked by a lighting strike in Sandage Coulee, in the heart of a Wilderness Study Area (WSA).