Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sawtooth Fire-Downing Mountain Lodge

Posted By on Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM

This past week we have been living with fire like never before. With the fire burning right up to the south side of the Downing Mountain Lodge greenspace, we have been fortunate so far to still have the water running and the property beautifully intact.

The south side approach of the fire
  • JL
  • The south side approach of the fire

Backburn above the final road grade to the lodge
  • JL
  • Backburn above the final road grade to the lodge
The lodge served as the epicenter of activity for the Hot Shot Crews staging and building fire line, the spotters radioing the fires approach on Monday's conflagration and for the successful holding of the fire lines along the foothills below the lodge and along the Grubstake Road. With crown fire having burned to the south of the lodge and again to the west, the fact that the lodge held the fire with its mass of sprinklers and defensible space is a good case study in living successfully within a forest fire zone. We have fire all around the lodge to varying degrees of intensity from full crown to creeping moderate understory. For years to come we have a great opportunity to see Mother Nature restore the landscape, the opportunity to assist her in anti erosion control, and seeding.

The other boon to us powder hounds is the full opening of another 2 distinct zones for skiing: the east face of the east ridge between the forks of Owings creek and the north facing zones dropping in a direct 2000' falline from ridge to the North Fork through what was a thick green stand of timber, but is now completely burned from 4,500' to the summit of Downing Mountain at 8,700'. While the fire burned hot, a few trees survived on the south facing slopes and on the east facing lower slopes the approach to the lodge is virtually unchanged with only crown fire at Switchbacks 10 and 12. For a full gallery of photos please visit the facebook page for Downing Mountain Lodge or Backcountryfocus.com.

We will host an openhouse this fall to celebrate our continued and hopeful survival of this historic event for Hamilton Montana's viewshed and local mountain.

Looking out the window from the lodge around 3p.m. Monday
  • Jen Callahan
  • Looking out the window from the lodge around 3p.m. Monday

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