Newspaper Archive of
Walsh County Press
Park River , North Dakota
September 20, 2017     Walsh County Press
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September 20, 2017

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Page 4 THE WALSH COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK... BY ALLISON OLIMB EDITOR, WALSH COUNTY PRESS A shot of rain last Friday meant Very slowly we have been pick- a weekend offfor the husband, but ing away at that room. We added a it also meant that the honey-do list little drywall, slapped on some was about to get a serious dent tak- mud, primed, painted, accented, en out of it, one check at a time. accessorized. Check! Since last year our house has been Saturday, my dad came over to on the to do list for hail repairs, help with the laminate flooring. which happened this summer. We Then my husband put together threw in a deck with a little saved up some shelves, hung a mirror, and cash and in the process, the laundry built a bench out of scrap wood (you room became the new entryway, know, the usual list) I was on laun- Hello, I know we have all been con- cerned with the fires that roared across Montana and other western states. I had the opportunity to witness some of the devastation first hand on Friday. While driving in the rain. On Friday morning, in a nice rain, I drove down to Bowman and met a friend to go to a horse sale in Great Falls. It was raining nice at home. And from here to Bow- man and then northwest to Great Falls, we never shut the wipers orE. 525 miles with the wipers on in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. That may happen only once in a lifetime. When I was young, it would have been a nail- straightening day. We drove to Miles City and then north to Jordan. In a won- derful rain, we drove by the 300,000 acres that had burned west of Jordan. You see still pic- tures of it. You probably saw pic- dry duty among other random Between laying out pages, whip- chores. Check. ping up a few stories/ads, swapping I was drop dead fired and didn't up a few items on the schedule, and accomplish much else. tearing out my hair as usual, I I jinxed myself on Monday. Nev- found myself a little further behind er ever speak out loud that it will be than I would have liked and my an easy day. It wasn't even an hour chances of fitting in another meet- after I spoke the words that things ing became slim to none. started to go wrong. IfI could have a few more copies Two time outs and one bloody of myself I would have loved to nose later, the kids started to settle make comic books with my kids, down. Then I get a call from the write a few more articles, do page school that the other little hoodlum layout, design a few ads I am behind was causing a ruckus. I asked him on, and maybe take a nap. why. I could only do one, so if you are His answer? He didnt want to col- reading this issue, it looks like the or his schoolwork because he liked coffee worked and getting the paper it better in black and white. Not long to the printer won out. Check. after that conversation, he changed "Like'" the Walsh County Press on Face- his mind, thankfully, this rain was bringing more than The father told of watching a moisture. It was bringing hope. dozer go over a steep incline and At Great Falls, we went to sup- down into a canyon. Three men. per with a young couple that was And as he watched, the canyon ex- hosting the sale. Their ranch had ploded into fire and the men were been in the middle of a devastat- surrounded. He was forced from ing fire in the Bear Paw Moun- his vantage point and knew deep tains. I had seen pictures posted, down inside that those three men But to hear their stories was riv- were doomed. He went back to eting, camp and didn't inform the wives The men had been up in the that he was certain those men mountains on the fire line. For had perished in the inferno. Some- three days. Without coming home. one else who had witnessed the The wind switched and the fire canyon explosion was not so del- started advancing on one of the icate. He came in and said he was prettiest ranches in the world, certain they were gone. Devastat- The young housewife was there ing. alone. With no cell phone service Hours later they learned what to call for help. She went on face- happened. The men were trapped. reached the doomed men, arrived with a load of water and dropped it directly on the firefighters. They escaped. One rancher told of hauling five horses out and dollying down the trailer and going back for anoth- er two-horse trailer and two more horses. The pickup was loaded with what things they could throw in the trailer in a moments notice as the fire advanced on their home. The last thing he loaded was two blue heeler dogs. He threw them in underneath the horses. Blue heelers are tough. He got them out of harms way and dollied that trailer down and headed back to fight fire. A day and a half later, he got back to that trailer and opened the end gate to unload the horses and dogs. He said those dogs were di- rectly under those horse's bellies and wouldn't wiggle. They had been stomped on enough, they tures posted on social media. They book and asked for assistance. Encircled by a raging fire. The knew better than to even flinch. do not do justice to the actual She asked people to share her dozer operator made a few circles Those horses had done something burned acreage. Mile after mile af- plea. In a matter of hours she had around the firefighters, and they , ter mile, with nothing but burnt 200 people in her yard. Manyhuddled in the middle of their I ve never been able to do. Make pastureland. No cattle. No wildlife, with pickups and trailers to evac- small clearing. A pilot in a spotter a blue heeler mind. No birds. Just blackened ground uate horses and livestock penned plane could see their plight. As the After hearing their stories, I and ash. That fire was a while ago, at the yard. For three days, they fed fire advanced toward them, he won't complain about a little but there was not a hint of green. 200 people 3 meals a day in their radioed for a helicopter. The hel- drought. It brought tears to my eyes. But ranch yard. That's cowboy, icopter, minutes before the fire Later, Dean ?~