Missoulian mailbag

I went to graduate school at the University of Oregon in Eugene. One of the dominant factors in life there is the winter rain and clouds. But that rain is the reason western Oregon is a Garden of Eden. You can’t love the beauty of western Oregon and not at least appreciate what the rain creates.

Living in Montana can be a challenge too due to wildfire. However, when you see the golden larch on mountain sides in the fall, you are seeing the consequence of wildfire.

When you see bluebirds or pileated woodpeckers or numerous other birds that love snags created by wildfire, you should be thankful for the blazes.

If you enjoy fishing for trout, know that the abundance of dead wood that fills streams after a blaze contributes to greater fish abundance. And one must remember that elk and deer tend to increase after a fire, fed by the lush new growth that comes in after a blaze.

Montana’s landscape is one influenced by wildfire. We need to celebrate wildfires and to appreciate their important ecological role in shaping the beauty and attractiveness of Montana.

George Wuerthner,

Livingston and

Bend, Oregon

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