Ash Creek Fire
A year after wildfires burned more than a third of the Ashland Ranger District of the Custer National Forest, crews are clearing burned trees along roadways, working to stabilize the soil to prevent runoff and rebuilding burned fences on grazing allotments.
On the slopes of 4,200-foot Garfield Peak, Robert Yellow Fox III can gaze down at the charred landscape of the Ashland Divide stretching to the horizon in every direction.
Eleven months after the Ash Creek fire destroyed her Ashland home, and nine months after moving in to a 14-by-60-foot trailer, Twilla Speelman is feeling a little cramped.
Deana Spotted Eagle plants about 1,000 trees each day in the Ash Creek fire scar on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
Pasture burned in the Ash Creek fire sports a coat of spring green.
Crew C boss Jerome Whitehawk gets instructions from Northern Cheyenne forester Terry Spang.
Tree planter Red Elk Lone Bear works from 4:30 a.m. to early afternoon six days a week on a Northern Cheyenne reforestation project.
A FEMA trailer sits next to a burned foundation and chimney on the Tongue River Road near Ashland. They chimney is all that the 2012 Ash Creek fire left of the previous home.
Speelman talks about the living conditions inside her family’s FEMA trailer. The 14-by-60-foot dwelling is about half the size of her trailer home destroyed in the Ash Creek fire last summer.
Twilla Speelman, her husband, four grandchildren and two small dogs moved into a FEMA trailer after the 2012 Ash Creek fire destoyed their previous home.
Grass was in short supply on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation last summer in the aftermath of a season of fire.
The home of Jennifer Dennis’ family stands near where flames approached last summer.
Tree planter Robert Yellow Fox III plants a forest he expects his great-grandchildren to enjoy.
Fire burns behind Jennifer Dennis’ family home as fire engines stand guard near Ashland on June 28, 2012, during the Ash Creek fire. The home survived.
Northern Cheyenne forester Terry Spang shows how ponderosa pine seedlings arrive from a nursery in Missoula. They are packaged 25 to a bag.
More than a million acres of scorched earth left after last summer’s fires means an increased risk of flash flooding for parts of Montana this spring.
Firefighters from Northern Cheyenne Crew No. 1 battle the Ash Creek wildfire near Ashland last July. The fire, the largest in the state last summer, engulfed 249,562 acres in Rosebud and Powder River counties and consumed a big chunk of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Steep terrain combin…
Drought, lightning and bad luck turned the 2012 fire season into Montana’s worst in more than 100 years, making it one of the biggest news stories of the past year.
This image provided by the Kolka family in July 2012 shows Justin Madsen walking up a hillside littered with dead cattle killed by the Ash Creek Fire that burned through forest land near Volborg, Mont.
When the huge, fast-moving Ash Creek wildfire bore down on Ashland, people had to get out fast.