The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Frank and Lin Vargo
Adventures in St. Marie 

'We Do What We Can to Protect What We Can'


August 11, 2021

What makes Sara of Long Run, run?

Just when the Long Run Firefighters thought that they might have a break from fighting wildfires such as the massive 447-acre-wildfire about three miles from Saint Marie, MT in the early morning hours on 17 of July, another one, albeit only about 5-acres, this time 4 miles up route 24, Chief Sara Johnson-Bryan led her fire crew into the fields again.

It was Saturday the 31st this time, and perhaps she was looking forward to enjoying her weekend off with her young kids and husband.

But when you are a Volunteer firefighter you are actually on duty 24/7.

We were directed to a large plume of black smoke just north of Glasgow and went to see what it was all about.

We had a bit of a time trying to locate an access road since the smoke was deep inside the fields near Knaff road and Pump House road. We saw a large tractor trailer heading that way towards the fire at a good speed so we followed it.

Well, the driver took a surprising right turn and headed across an open field. So we hoped that he knew where he was going and decided to follow. Eventually the truck stopped and Russ Gilbertson got out of the large truck and opened the back doors and began to hook up a large water pump and was ready to fill up the fire trucks that were dispensing water on the field and fire at the initial site.

We parked about 100 yards away so as to not get in the way of the real heroes of the day.

Russ Gilbertson has a farm very close to this area and as most ranchers/farmers who know how vulnerable they are to wildfires they do have equipment available to assist the Firefighters.

Thanks, Russ Gilbertson for your time and assistance.

We hoped that the fire squad at least remembered us because we had been covering these emergencies for over 5 years now and have many friends on the various Fire departments in our area. We maintained our distance and hoped that they would not chase us away.

They did not.

It appeared to us, that the fire had been under control and that gave the Firefighters some time to refill their trucks and wave to us.

Chief Sara Johnson-Bryan stated that the fire was started by a pickup truck and the fire had burned 5.6 acres.

Also, the pickup and a old homestead were both consumed by the fire.

The volunteer fire fighters that went to this fire were Chief Sara Johnson-Bryan, John Britzman, Brian Austin, Ty Gerth, Dillon Koski, Adam Arneson, Jesse Cook, Jeron Wesen, Bob Hanson and John Fontaine and Butch Heitman.

Thank you Long Run!

The Firefighters, were doing a well orchestrated assault on the fire and it showed their expertise at work. They meticulously crisscrossed the acreage with their water trucks and hoses aimed out of their vehicle windows spraying the smoking embers to saturate the field so there are no flare-ups. The firefighters do not leave the fire area until the fire is out. DEAD OUT!

Bob "Sparky" Hanson most recently spoke of what the dedicated firefighters actions really mean. "We do what we do to protect what we can". Very poignant, indeed.

The small fire is kinda like when someone says that they had minor surgery. Not really. All surgeries should be considered serious and ALL fires are dangerous. They can lead to a massive emergency in a moments notice. "We do what we do, to protect what we can."

Good to remember.

We left the fire at 4:34 PM and watched as the firefighters were still at the scene.

So there again, we shall put out the call for volunteer firefighters for St. Marie. You are needed.

Give Fire Chief August Aho a call and he can help you with the details if you are interested.

Meanwhile back in the small town of St. Marie, a meeting that was tentatively scheduled for August 4th had been canceled, but then you knew that if you showed up and no one was there.

Saint Marie Fire Board Chairman Pat Trotter stated that instead of having a special Fire Board meeting on August 4th to reappoint August Aho as Fire Chief, the board has decided to wait until the August 11th meeting at 6:30 pm to make the decision on just who will be Fire Chief.

Over at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center, there visitor hours are now Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The rest of the week they are closed. Masks are NOT required at this time. Stay tuned for that.

There is a Covid-19 station just before you enter the Fort Peck interpretive center with free masks and disinfectant, for your convenience and safety concern.

We wore ours just to be on the safe side what with visitors coming in from all over. Stay safe.

While we were visiting there last week we had the pleasure of meeting Ranger Chyanne Clampitt who showed us their new acquisition. It is an old stencil making machine that allows you to make your own personalized stencil.

Chyann took our grandson, Michael, aside and had him operate the large device under her close supervision and he made his name in stencil card stock of his choice.

Ms. Clampitt, just in case you are wondering, and wish to show your age, did a quick rendition of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. She is a very personable young lady.

Go visit the Center and enjoy the day there.

We gathered up some Center information pamphlets for the Shady Rest RV Park for our guests who do not know exactly how to travel in "the middle of nowhere."

Speaking of COVID-19 and the wearing of masks, we were just notified by National Park news bulletins, that mask requirements for FULLY vaccinated visitors vary by park.

In ALL parks, people who are fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.

Masks are required for everyone on all forms of enclosed public transportation such as the Glacier Park shuttle "Road to the Sun."

More information can be found at: Don't take the chance with Covid-19 and please check ahead.

Also for your edification, we have been warned by Shady Rest guests that if you are heading to the Glacier Park RV area please make reservations online to get into the park for day use visitors that enter the West and St. Mary Entrances, or via the Camas Road, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. MDT and must have a $2 Entry Reservation Ticket, and can be used anytime within that seven day period.

You will also have to have your senior pass or pay for entry into the park.

If you do not have a reservation for Glacier Park, they are refusing you entrance and there are some very disappointed travelers who have been made aware of this notice at the time they have tried to enter the park entrance.

If not Glacier consider going to Yellowstone National Park, there are no entrance reservations necessary there.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that school is scheduled to open its doors on August 23rd .

However, with the Covid-19 virus rearing its ugly head again, we will keep you posted if there is a change in school openings.

Food for Thought

Mark Twain once said: "A gentleman doesn't necessarily have to own a necktie or shave every day. There's some ruffians around this town that don't wash too much and might get drunk on Saturday night that I would call a gentleman.

"On the other hand there are some stiff-collared, non-drinking, church going, clean necked folks that I wouldn't trust as far as you can sling an ox.

"A gentleman is what the word means, a gentle man. Most people go through life looking, and never see a thing."

Have a great rest of the week!


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