2020—California Comes to Montana

The smoke from California’s and other western wildfires hundreds of miles away, has covered Montana with ash, filled the skies with smoke, and degraded the air quality to levels found in my neighborhood in California, well into the unhealthy range. Early Monday morning we drove into the Sapphire Mountains to the Skalkaho Waterfall, a spectacular falls at about a mile above sea level where Lewis and Clark once made their way and documented in their journals. As the sun rose above the treetops, it glowed a fiery red from the particulate in the air. It was quite a spectacular sight, despite the grave implications of the scene. It looks almost as if the trees are burning but those without needles probably were dead either from a previous fire or die off from beetle infestations. I took this photograph at about 8:30 AM at an elevation of about 7200 feet.